Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is playing a strong hand in the lame-duck session as he pressures Democrats to drop a much-sought $160 billion aid package for states and local governments struggling to balance their budgets because of the pandemic.
Watch McConnell’s remarks in the player above.
He and other top senate Republicans repeated the GOP position as talks on a long-delayed COVID-19 aid package intensified Tuesday.
“The way forward, obviously, is to put aside the two things that are the most contentious on each side; liability protection and state and local,” McConnell said.
“We can live to fight another day on what we disagree on, but we ought to agree to go forward on what we can agree on.”
Rank-and-file Democrats appear increasingly resigned to having to drop, for now, the party’s demand for fiscal relief for states and local governments whose budgets have been thrown out of balance by the pandemic.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has insisted for months that state and local aid would be in any final bill, but as time is running out, Democrats appear unwilling to hold the rest of the package hostage over the demand.
Several Democrats appeared at a bipartisan news conference on Monday to endorse a $748 billion COVID relief package.
McConnell also said that as a survivor of polio, he intends to be vaccinated to protect himself against the coronavirus, and he is encouraging other high-profile Americans to do the same.