Congress to Return for Next Package

Neither party expects an aid bill to pass quickly
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2020 5:41 PM CDT
Congress to Return for Next Package
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the Capitol last week.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Congress will be back in the Capitol next week, House and Senate leaders announced Monday, to work on the next pandemic relief package. Both chambers have mostly been empty for weeks, Politico reports, while members attempted to debate and pass legislation from a distance. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will alter its routines in the name of safety. But coronavirus cases are still on the rise in Washington, and some members aren't enthusiastic about returning next Monday. "How do we lay out the Capitol that everybody can remain safe?" one lawmaker said. In his announcement, McConnell said, "If it is essential for doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, truck drivers, grocery-store workers, and many other brave Americans to keep carefully manning their own duty stations, then it is essential for Senators to carefully man ours and support them."

Lawmakers will be bringing contrasting goals for the next bill, per the Washington Post. McConnell said he wants "strong protections from opportunistic lawsuits" for businesses and health care workers. Fear of lawsuits could keep businesses from reopening, McConnell said. The Republican leader has also said he doesn't want the pandemic to deter the Senate from confirming President Trump's judicial nominees. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants a guaranteed income for some people to receive consideration. "We may have to think in terms of some different ways to put money in people's pockets," the Democratic leader said. Leaders in both parties expect the next package won't sail through: Democrats want to step up spending to overcome the pandemic's economic damage, and McConnell wants to slow down after four rounds of aid. (Read more Congress stories.)

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