Senate Dems hope to tack COVID relief onto government spending bill


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Senate Democrats are taking a different approach to try and convince their Republican colleagues to come back to the negotiating table for additional COVID-19 relief.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, said Americans need Congress to take action sooner rather than later.

“I think the way forward here is to attach a negotiated emergency COVID-19 relief bill to the bill that we need to pass to keep the government operating,” he suggested. “Let’s just get together and figure out a way forward.”

Funding for the federal government expires on Dec. 11, and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, said the pressure is on to avoid a shutdown.

Murphy believes that pressure will give the Democrats the leverage they need to make a deal.

“I’m open to any option that would get relief to folks in Connecticut as soon as possible,” Murphy said. “That includes attaching some COVID spending, like the extension of unemployment benefits, to the budget or to the continuing resolution.”

“We just need to get something done and I’m willing to compromise,” he continued.

The sticking point for more relief remains the price tag, but since talks have been stalled for months, Republicans may be willing to budge.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, believes a larger bill is needed to meet the moment.

“I think we need more than $500 billion,” Graham said. “I hope we can get Mitch [McConnell] and Nancy [Pelosi] to go ahead and do a deal.”

But McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said the Democrats’ $2 trillion package isn’t going anywhere.

“The problem is that their proposal is a multi-trillion-dollar laughing stock that never had a chance at becoming law,” McConnell, R-Kentucky, said.

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