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Republicans Risk Political Blowback on Pandemic Aid
 

WASHINGTON — More than eight weeks and almost $2.8 trillion federal dollars into an urgent response to the coronavirus pandemic, congressional Republicans and the Trump administration have made it clear that they have little interest in engaging with Democrats on another round of costly relief measures.

But their resistance — born of spending fatigue and policy divisions — is proving increasingly unsustainable, given tens of millions of anxious Americans out of work, businesses and schools shuttered and an election looming.

Democrats are already pounding Senate Republicans — particularly endangered incumbents facing the voters in November — for their hesitancy in moving forward with additional relief, energized by a hallway comment by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, that he felt no “urgency” to provide more immediate help.

With the nation in severe distress, Democrats saw that remark as a serious blunder by the usually disciplined Mr. McConnell, and are not letting it go.

“I’d urge the constituents of senators in every state to call them and ask them that question: Do you agree with Senator McConnell?” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said Thursday on the Senate floor.

Members of both parties concede that the $3 trillion measure drafted by House Democrats is several bridges too far, considering its giant cost and the underpinning of progressive policies on immigration and other issues that could never clear the Republican-controlled Senate. Republicans branded it an outlandish liberal wish list. Most have rejected it outright, and very few are expected to back it in the vote set for Friday — conveniently scheduled by Democrats to coincide with more gloomy unemployment news.

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Posted on 16 May 2020
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