WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — U.S. House and Senate leadership continue to negotiate a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package aimed at providing desperately-needed funding to Americans impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the path forward depends on what both the Republicans and Democrats are willing to give up.
McConnell said both he and Democratic leadership have agreed not to leave Capitol Hill until they reach a deal.
He suggested lawmakers put aside two of the most contentious sticking points: liability protection and state and local aid.
Both parties, he said, can debate those two issues later, and must focus on providing immediate relief to American families, the unemployed and small businesses.
“We ought to agree to go forward on what we can agree on,” McConnell said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, argues that states need additional funding for vaccine distribution and production.
“The states badly need that money, and we need to get it done for every American,” Schumer said.
But Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, said even without local aid, the other included provisions will help.
He said Democrats may have to wait to provide direct aid until next year, but they should provide what they can now.
“There’ll be a new administration, we recognize this is not the last chapter in COVID relief,” he said.
Time is of the essence for lawmakers, since they have just days to vote on and pass a relief measure before their scheduled Christmas break.