USA TODAY: Mitch McConnell unveils $1 trillion pandemic aid package to criticisms from Republicans and Democrats – MORE HERE

(Washington, D.C.) U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement in response to Senate Republicans releasing their long delayed proposals for the next COVID-19 relief bill.

“For months, we’ve called on Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans to see what’s obvious to people across the country: this virus is causing incredible suffering and it’s getting worse, not better. Our responsibility is to rise to the moment, work together, and respond with bold solutions. Unfortunately, the bill Senate Republicans released yesterday is incredibly late, profoundly inadequate, and can’t credibly be considered a starting point for negotiations.

“The Republican bill fails to demand the comprehensive, end-to-end plan from the Administration we urgently need for developing a safe, effective, free and widely available vaccine, and won’t help our lagging testing and contact tracing get to where we need them. It goes even further than we feared in bullying schools to re-open in person regardless of safety, and would hardly keep child care providers afloat for a month.

“The Republican bill goes out of its way to give corporations a ‘get out of jail free card’ rather than requiring health and safety standards be put in place—while slashing unemployment benefits for workers who’ve lost their jobs, but still have to make rent and put food on the table.  

“Glaringly, the Republican bill fails to take even the minimum necessary steps to address the starkly disproportionate impact the virus is having on Black, Latino, and Tribal communities, and includes no funding for state, local, and Tribal governments with stretched budgets, risking further layoffs.

“Congress’s work over the next few weeks will have truly life-and-death consequences for families in Washington state and nationwide. People are watching closely, and we owe them relief that reflects the depth of this crisis, instead of the depth of Republican dysfunction and backward priorities.”