U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday proposed a coronavirus aid package hammered out with the White House, paving the way for talks with Democrats on how to help Americans as expanded unemployment benefits for millions of workers expire this week.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell called the plan, expected to represent about $1 trillion in spending, a "tailored and targeted" plan focused on getting children back to school and employees back to work and protecting corporations from lawsuits, while slashing the expiring supplemental unemployment benefits of $600 a week by two-thirds.
MITCH MCCONNELL: Good afternoon, everyone. When the Senate last acted with regard to COVID-19 back in March and April, we had at that point added about $3 trillion dollars to the national debt. We then, of course, ended up with a debt the size of our economy for the first time since World War II, which is in and of itself concerning.
So I said I thought we needed to push the pause button. Began to see the impact of the CARES Act and related acts that passed through in that period. See how we did when the economy began to re-open. And take another look at what the country needed in July.
We've been-- we meaning Senate Republicans and the administration-- have been consulting over the last few weeks to come up with a realistic proposal with what we think is an appropriate amount of additional debt to be added to the economy at this time. We think it is about a trillion dollars. And we've allocated that in a way that we think makes the most sense for the country at this particular time.
It will include liability insurance, which Senator-- liability protections, which Senator Cornyn is going to describe here shortly. But let me just make it clear there won't be a bill that passes the Senate that doesn't have this in it. There have already been 3,500 lawsuits filed. The country cannot stand an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic we're already working our way through.