As 48 states are reporting an increase in new coronavirus cases, Democratic Congressional leaders are calling on the Republican-controlled Senate to pass another coronavirus relief measure.
The House passed the Democratic-crafted Heroes Act, a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, in May, and since then, the Senate has declined to take up another multi-trillion spending bill.
Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are calling for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to begin negotiations on a new spending bill.
In a letter to McConnell on Monday, the Democratic leaders wrote, “It has been 45 days since the House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act to help the American people through the public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate Republicans have refused to take up the Heroes Act or any significant coronavirus legislation in the United States Senate during that time.”
“Though Democrats have repeatedly requested to enter into bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on additional legislation with you, such conversations have not happened in over two months,” they added.
In May, Congressional Republicans said they did not see the need to pass another multi-trillion dollar spending bill. However, they indicated they would begin negotiations on another bill in the coming weeks.
Now all but two states are reporting an increase in new coronavirus cases leading to fears of a second coronavirus wave. As coronavirus cases rise, 12 states have taken steps to roll back their reopening plans.
“The nation has seen a dramatic surge in both cases and deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding to that pain, our economy is facing one of its greatest challenges since the Great Depression. Over one-fifth of the workforce has requested unemployment assistance. Now is the time for action, not continued delays and political posturing,” Pelosi and Schumer said
They also called for federal resources to help states reopen safely and funding to “hold safe elections.”
“As Americans struggle to make rent payments and face evictions and as our health care and childcare systems face unprecedented burdens, Senate Republicans have been missing in action at your direction,” they charged.
Additionally, the two leaders said they were “outraged” that the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed federal judges but did not hold negotiations on a relief bill.
Finally, they said, “It is unacceptable that the Senate would recess without addressing this urgent issue. On behalf of the millions of American families who desperately need Congressional action, we demand you change your mind and decide to work with us for the good of the country.”
As of Monday afternoon, there were 2.5 million coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 125,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits as coronavirus shutdowns wreaked havoc on the economy.