Politics McConnell opens door to more coronavirus stimulus checks for low-income Americans
More than 500,000 people worldwide have now died from the coronavirus
A half-million people have now died from COVID-19 worldwide, and the death toll has doubled in just over seven weeks.That grim milestone – marked Sunday by Johns Hopkins University – is particularly unsettling given warnings by health experts that the pandemic is still in its infancy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said that the next round of coronavirus legislation could include an additional round of stimulus checks aimed at helping low-income Americans.
Asked at one of three public events in his home state of Kentucky if the relief bill would include more direct payments, McConnell said it "could well."
"I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less, many of them work in the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry, as all of you know, just got rim-racked - hotels, restaurants - and so that could well be a part of it," McConnell said.
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The U.S. nears 3M cases; Hospitalizations spike in Florida; Movie theater chains file lawsuit to reopen in New Jersey. Latest coronavirus newsThe stunning milestone will hit less than six months after the first confirmed case was reported January 21, in Everett, Washington. The virus has killed more than 130,000 Americans.
House Democrats have passed a $3 trillion bill that includes. Republicans have been , but President Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans have said they're open to including another round of direct payments in future legislation.
Speaking at a separate event earlier Monday, McConnell said he'd be putting forward his own legislation after the Senate returns on July 20.
"I'll be unveiling something which will be a starting point in a few weeks and we'll be dealing with the administration and the Democrats," McConnell said.
"I can't comfortably predict we're going to come together and pass it unanimously like we did a few months ago," he added. "The atmosphere has become more political than it was in March but I think we will do something. The country needs one last boost."
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McConnell said one of his top priorities for the bill would be liability protection to protect businesses from coronavirus-related litigation.
"This is not just for businesses this is for hospitals, doctors, nurses, nonprofits, universities, colleges, k-12, so that people who acted in good faith during this crisis are not confronted with a second epidemic of lawsuits in the wake of a pandemic that we're already struggling with," he said.
He also reiterated that, as far as he is concerned, the next stimulus bill would be the last.
"This will have to be the last rescue package because we now have a debt the size of our economy for the first time since World War 2. We cannot keep doing this," he said.
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The US’s new surge in coronavirus cases, explained .
America could have prevented another surge in coronavirus cases. It’s now clear it didn’t.There’s some debate about whether this is the “second wave” of infections, or whether it’s a continuation of the first wave that began in early 2020 and never really ended. But what’s clear is the US is now suffering from a rapid rise in coronavirus cases. So far, that’s yet to translate to a rising death toll, likely because rises and falls in deaths tend to lag behind rises and falls in overall cases.