McGrath: Pandemic Relief Bill Pushed By McConnell Well Short of What Kentucky, U.S. Need

Sep 9, 2020

Amy McGrath (left) speaks to a supporter at a campaign event in Glasgow on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Credit Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate says a scaled-down pandemic relief bill unveiled by Republican Mitch McConnell Tuesday isn’t good enough.

Amy McGrath says Congress needs to pass a measure that helps states handle the crushing economic effects of COVID-19.

The Republican measure cuts by hundreds of billions of dollars the $1 trillion proposal the GOP had initially offered, and is significantly less than the $2.2 trillion plan pushed by Democrats.

Speaking Tuesday at a campaign event in Glasgow, McGrath said McConnell’s bill doesn’t address the serious damage the pandemic is doing across the nation.

“In the next few days, we’re going to have 200,000 Americans dead of coronavirus. We have an economy that hasn’t been this bad since the Great Depression. And this guy is still playing politics up there. I’m tired of it,” McGrath told reporters before the event.

McConnell’s bill includes more money for small business loans, and a scaled-down version of the expanded unemployment insurance program. It also provides increased legal liability protections for businesses that are open amid the pandemic, something McConnell has insisted is a necessary part of any new relief measure.

It also contains $105 billion for schools.

Gov. Andy Beshear said last month that Kentucky is facing a potential $1.1 billion revenue shortfall this fiscal year, due mainly to the economic impacts of the pandemic, and called on Congress to make direct financial support to states.

McGrath has echoed those appeals, and said Tuesday a lot of hard-working Kentuckians will be hurt if the state has to make massive cuts to services and programs.

"We’ve got to help Kentucky right now," McGrath said. "That’s police departments, that’s fire departments, that’s sheriff’s departments. That’s people who depend on pensions who have served our state for decades.”

A test vote for McConnell’s bill is planned for Thursday, and would need 60 votes to pass.