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.
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.”