Centrist senators express optimism their COVID-19 relief bill will become law
A Senate Republican and Democrat each expressed confidence another coronavirus relief package would pass the chamber in interviews Sunday.
“President Trump has indicated that he would sign a $908 billion package. There was only [one] $908 billion package out there, and that’s ours,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“[Senate Majority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] has said he’s not interested in making a point. He wants something which passes into law. It only can pass into law if it’s bipartisan in the House and the Senate, and ours is,” Cassidy said. “Now, neither have said, ‘We’ll sign your bill.’ That’s fair. We have final language. Our final language, Chris, will probably come out early this week, earlier this week, and so then people can look at it and we can modify it as needed.”
However, Cassidy added that “the indications I get, the pain of the American people is driving this, and I’m optimistic that both those leaders will come on board.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd suggested in an interview with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) that there was an “absurd” level of polarization around coronavirus measures, originating with Trump.
“Everyone, I believe, is taking this more serious. The president has not. It’s been part of his political posturing. It’s very dangerous,” Manchin said. “It’s extremely dangerous. You know, over, what, close to 280,000 deaths so far? It’s unbelievable.”
Manchin said that following the presidential election, the Senate began analyzing which relief measures were set to expire at the end of the year.
“Whether it be food assistance, whether it would be shelter, whether it would be health care, whether the necessities that people have, child care that’s needed to try to get our lives back — all the things were going to be eliminated, Chuck. And we said, ‘That can’t be done. We cannot allow this to happen,'” he said.
The West Virginia Democrat added that once President-elect Joe Biden takes office, “his team can put together a different proposal that takes us further down the road for more recovery.”
In the meantime, however, “the $908 billion of investment we make into the citizens of this country and trying to keep this economy from collapsing could be more important than $2 trillion would be in February and March if we do nothing,” he said. “And maybe then it might be too late for so many people and small businesses.”
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