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October 21, 2020

King Votes Against Latest Inadequate Pandemic Relief Proposal from McConnell, Calls for Bipartisan Negotiation to Produce Effective Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement after voting against another undersized coronavirus relief proposal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that fails to adequately meet the range of threats facing the American people. In his statement, Senator King emphasizes that even President Trump has called for a much-stronger relief bill, and highlights the fact that previous moves to reject Senator McConnell’s coronavirus relief proposals have resulted in drastically improved legislation, including additional funds for states and localities, increased unemployment insurance, and more money for healthcare providers working to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

“More than a month ago, the Senate rejected a Republican plan much like this one, because the bill doesn’t do nearly enough to address the crisis facing our nation. Since then, the virus has continued to spread and Americans have continued to face serious economic struggles – prompting everyone from working Americans to business leaders to cry out for a much larger bill. And it’s not just Democrats – even President Trump has repeatedly called for a bill more than triple the size of this proposal!

“But apparently, none of these factors have swayed Senator McConnell, who is still dead-set on a wholly inadequate package that will barely scratch the surface of this challenge. This bill doesn’t provide the investment needed to help American families make ends meet, or bolster hard-hit industries during this pandemic, or enable state and local governments to provide vital services and protect public safety. Showing he still doesn’t grasp how to confront the threat today and begin to get it under control, the Majority Leader’s bill includes less than half of the House’s proposed funding for coronavirus testing, tracing and treatment, which would allow this virus to linger even longer and inflict further damage on public health and on the economy.

“It is tempting to vote yes and do a little good, but I fear that my GOP colleagues would view this as a checking of a box, and argue that no further relief is required. Nothing would be further from the truth – for the sake of millions of Americans across the nation, we need a better bill. When the Senate passed the CARES Act, bipartisan negotiations resulted in a better product for our constituents – but for some reason, Senator McConnell has chosen to abandon that approach this time around.

“This outcome was clear from the start. Senator McConnell knew that this bill had nowhere near the support needed to become law; he pushed it anyway, when even the leader of his own party is calling for more. Now, he’ll let the American people suffer so he can focus on jamming through a new Supreme Court Justice, just days before the American people will be able to make their voices heard and select their next leaders. The Majority Leader is inflicting blow after blow on both this institution and the American people; the ramifications of his political power grabs will echo in the days, weeks and years to come.”

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