WPRI 12 News Washington DC Bureau

Senate pushes toward vote on coronavirus relief bill

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ The U.S. Senate is continuing its efforts to provide assistance to Americans who are already suffering economic hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, said Wednesday’s Senate vote on the House-passed “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” was long overdue.

“We are now five days late in voting on the package that passed the House of Representatives last Friday night,” Markey said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, believes the legislation is a good first step.

“We’re talking about a nation in survival mode – in health and economics,” Blumenthal said.

The bill provides money for testing and medical equipment. It also provides help for Americans who find themselves unable to work during the pandemic.

“We’re going to see massive important help in our Medicaid funding for Connecticut, $440 Million, but also putting cash in peoples’ pockets through emergency sick leave and family and medical leave so that people will stay home when they’re sick,” Blumenthal said.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, believes the bill should do more to help Americans.

“Unfortunately, Republicans and the White House took a lot of the benefits off of the table and so there’s not going to be as many people who get sick pay off of this bill who would have if the White House hadn’t been so stingy,” Murphy said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said while the bill is far from perfect, he plans to vote in favor of it.

“Its imperfections will just make our more comprehensive bill even more urgent,” he said. “So we’re aren’t leaving until we deliver it.”

The Senate is now working on more legislation to help boost the economy and provide direct financial assistance to Americans.

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