Senate to move on clean House coronavirus bill, ramp up efforts to pass third package

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing ahead with a vote on the House coronavirus bill while Senate Republicans ramp up their efforts to unify around a set of priorities for the third economic package.

The Kentucky Republican dismissed suggestions of amending the House bill to make it broader, which would have forced the House to return and re-pass the legislation.

He acknowledged that some of his Republican colleagues are unhappy with the bill as written, but urged them to focus on addressing those concerns with the next bill.

“My counsel is to gag and vote for it anyway,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. McConnell also reiterated his promise to not adjourn the Senate until they’ve written and passed a third economic package to address the economic fallout.

He crafted three task forces to work on crafting a Republican version of the bill and negotiate with Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

“I’ve told everyone else if they have a really good idea how to funnel it into a particular task force,” he said.

The administration initially proposed a $850 billion plan, which would include aid for hard-hit sectors like the airline and cruise industries, but the number soared to $1 trillion by Tuesday afternoon.

There’s also been a surge of GOP support for immediate cash handouts to Americans.

Meanwhile, Democrats have laid out their priorities for the upcoming package.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called for at least $750 billion that would go towards shoring up hospital resources, affordability of coronavirus treatment, fund public transportation and emergency child care and pause payments on loans immediately.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants the third bill to expand on benefits for workers, including ensuring first responders and health workers have paid leave if they need it. She also wants refundable tax credits for self-employed and gig economy workers.

“During negotiations, the Democratic House will continue to make clear to the Administration that any emergency response package must put Families First before any aid to corporate America is considered,” she said in a statement.

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