McConnell: Reopening economy, developing vaccines key in COVID-19 fight

At an event at the University of Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell discussed the impact of the C.A.R.E.S. Act on Kentucky. McConnell was asked if more financial relief would be on the way from congress.

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LEXINGTON, KY (WTVQ) – Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell says the focus in the fight against the coronavirus must be reopening the economy and developing vaccines against the virus.

The Republican leader from Kentucky made the remarks Tuesday at UK Hospital in Lexington where he honored frontline healthcare workers.

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The Democratic-led U.S. House passed a $3-trillion rescue package earlier this month.
McConnell says Senate Republicans have no plans to pass it, but believes another relief bill is likely.

“It will be a serious proposal. It will be confined to directly dealing with the challenges that are the outgrowth of the coronavirus pandemic and not a sort of hodgepodge of other things that are unrelated to it,” says McConnell.

Last month McConnell said he would rather states declare bankruptcy than get a bailout from the federal government. The statement that drew criticism from both sides of the aisle. Now, McConnell says there is a chance states would received additional COVID-19 relief funding.

“All of the governors, regardless of party, would like to have additional assistance. That’s a possibility, but I would remind everyone that we’ve sent a significant amount to the states already,” says McConnell.

“We can’t keep propping up the economy forever. We do need to begin to re-engage, to develop our activity again,” says McConnell.

He also says more testing, better treatment and coming up with a vaccine will be key to returning to normalcy.

The last COVID-19 relief bill that passed the Senate contained $25 billion for the Trump Administration-backed program called ‘Operation Warp Speed.’ The goal is to drastically cut the time needed to develop a coronavirus vaccine and make enough doses by year’s end.

“Several of them are in clinical trials already,” says McConnell. “Not only in clinical trials, but in production, so that if the clinical trials prove successful, they will have already ramped-up production, so that we can get a significant amount of doses not only for our country, but for the rest of the world.”

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Austin Miller joins ABC 36 Sports Team as a Sports Reporter and Weekend Anchor. Austin is from the Louisville area and graduated from St. Xavier High School in 2008. Austin graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a second concentration in German. While at IU, Austin was a blogger at Kentsterling.com and co-host, producer and engineer for WIUX, the school’s student radio station. Before coming to ABC 36, Austin was a news videographer at WLFI in West Lafayette from 2012-2015. While working with WLFI, Austin had the chance to cover the Purdue Boilermakers. He then accepted a Sports/New Reporter position at Local 4 KSNB-TV in Hastings Nebraska and was eventually promoted to sports full-time as the Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter. While at KSNB-TV, Austin covered the University of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska-Kearney and Hastings College. After spending nearly six years away from home, Austin is excited to return to the Bluegrass State to cover the teams he grew up watching. In his spare time, Austin enjoys playing basketball, working out and cooking. If you have any story ideas or would like to say “Hello,” you can reach Austin by email at amiller@wtvq.com or direct message him on Twitter @AustinMillerTV.