The House of Representatives passed another COVID relief bill in mid-May, designed to provide more relief to small businesses and put more money directly into Americans’ pockets. But the massive piece of legislation is still sitting on Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s desk.
Uninterested in helping working families, McConnell has instead suggested any legislation must ensure that businesses are protected from litigation rather than ensuring workers are protected from employers putting profits over people.
The legislation, known as the HEROES Act—Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act—includes state and local aid, another round of $1,200 direct payments, pay raises for front-line workers, an extension until January of the $600-per-week unemployment compensation, and a raft of other measures that Republicans have called a “liberal wish list.”
The White House and McConnell have said that there may be another bill but “it won’t look anything like what the House Democrats’ bill,” McConnell told reporters.
In an NBC News report, McConnell said he won’t support extending temporary unemployment insurance benefits, and that the Senate legislation “must protect employers from lawsuits.” Calling trial lawyers “vultures” and insisting liability protection is his red line.
In response to McConnell’s reluctance to take up the HEROES Act in the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “instead of telling laid-off workers to pause, Leader McConnell and the Senate GOP need to come to the negotiating table and help deliver the relief to protect lives and livelihoods.”