House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) ripped Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the White House for their “months-long disarray and delay” on delivering a proposal for a coronavirus relief package.
In a join statement Friday, the Democratic leaders urged McConnell to “get serious,” adding that Republicans would to be to blame for millions of Americans losing their unemployment insurance as as enhanced unemployment benefits are poised to expire by next week.
The lawmakers said that “Republicans dithering for months” have put at risk millions of Americans who are counting on those benefits to avoid eviction from their homes. The delay also follows a Department of Labor report that 1.4 million people filed for unemployment last week — the first time in four months that the weekly number of claims has risen, the Associate Press reported.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday, following a report that coronavirus cases surged past 4 million in the United States on Thursday and that the number of COVID-19-related deaths also exceeded 1,000 for the third consecutive day, Pelosi pointed out that the coronavirus outbreak is “accelerating.”
She attributed that acceleration to a strategy that used tactics of “delay, denial, distortion.”
“Now, finally, hopefully, we will be able to get a bill that holds this in check so we can open our schools and our economy with testing, tracing, treating,” Pelosi said.
The statement from the Democratic lawmakers comes one day after McConnell explained on the Senate floor Thursday that the delay was due to a request from the Trump administration, which McConnell said has “requested additional time to review the fine details.”
According to The Hill, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Thursday that the White House was “looking at text and trying to go through and go line by line” to review some of the proposal’s provisions.
Earlier on Thursday, Senator James Lankford (R-OK.) told The Hill that he “expected it to be out today. I haven’t seen it yet. But that’s when I was expecting it to be able to come out.” Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), also chimed in Thursday that he was “expecting it this morning.”
But the day came and went and the package has yet to be unveiled.
McConnell has said that he intends to supply a proposal “early next week.”
But Democratic lawmakers have suggested that Republicans and the White House are dragging their feet at the expense of Americans who are struggling against fierce financial winds.
“We had expected to be working throughout this weekend to find common ground on the next COVID response package,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote Friday. “It is simply unacceptable that Republicans have had this entire time to reach consensus among themselves and continue to flail. Time is of the essence and lives are being lost.”