With only eight days before enhanced unemployment benefits are set to expire, on Thursday, Senate Republican leaders did not come forward with a proposal on further coronavirus relief spending. A roughly $1 trillion GOP bill had been expected from Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
In an interview Thursday on Boston Public Radio, Rep. Joe Kennedy III called the development “dangerous news for our country.”
“It’s really troubling news for any family out there that’s trying to make ends meet,” he continued. "It’s really scary if you think that we don’t have adequate testing in this country, which we don’t have. It’s scary if you think that schools are gonna try to open up in the fall without additional resources, ‘cause almost every public health official will tell you that they can’t.”
Currently, over 20 million Americans are relying on the increased unemployment assistance to navigate layoffs and other economic hardships brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far claimed over 142,000 American lives.
The congressman and current candidate for U.S. Senate said disagreements within the GOP stemmed from issues around unemployment assistance, and “some aspects of direct payments.”
"They’re supposedly still working this stuff out — they were supposed to present something, again, … it all crumbled. I wish I had better news for you, but this is unfortunately par for the course with this administration,” he said.
The Senate relief bill is now expected to arrive next week, which will shorten time for negotiations between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats in the House passed their own $3 trillion tax cut and spending bill in May.
During his interview, Kennedy also touched on his views on qualified immunity for police officers, how he’d like to reform the Supreme Court, and why he thinks he’s a better fit for the Senate than his campaign rival, current U.S. Sen. Ed Markey. The Senate Primary Election is Tuesday, Sept.1.