Washington, Nov 5 (IANS) US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Congress should approve a new Covid-19 relief package aimed at assisting American businesses and workers affected by the pandemic, before the year ends.
Addressing a press briefing on Wednesday, McConnell, who won his seventh term as the senior Senator from Kentucky, said: “We need another rescue package. Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election and I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year,” Politico news reported.
The senior Republican further said that when the Senate returns on November 9, the relief package and keeping the government funded after the December 11 deadline, will be the top priorities.
“It’s a basic function of government that we haven’t handled very well in recent years and we need to do that.
“So we have two big things to do before the end of the year,” Politico news quoted McConnell as saying.
After months of fruitless discussions on the new relief package, negotiators from both the sides were yet to make progress as key differences remained.
The latest discussion was held on October 20 between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Of the remaining differences, the Speaker had singled out two: additional funding for state and local governments, sought by Democrats; and liability language, demanded by Republicans, to protect businesses and schools from lawsuits in the event that workers and students contract the virus, reports The Hill news website.
But Pelosi said the White House’s latest relief proposal “falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand”.
In July, Republicans initially offered a $1.1 trillion package, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that up to 20 Senators could vote against it.
Fifty-two Republican senators later backed a scaled-down $500 billion bill.