Will SCOTUS dispute affect COVID-19 relief negotiations?

DC Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As the fight over Republicans’ plans to quickly replace late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg escalates, some Democrats say the dispute could further hamper efforts to pass another coronavirus relief package.

“What this decision will do is heighten the already toxic climate here in Washington,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said.

He’s skeptical Americans will see any additional federal help anytime soon.

“Which would be one of the worst things that could happen economically,” he said.

He and fellow Democrat Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa said with the long gridlock, families are struggling and small businesses are being pushed to the brink.

“We’re at risk of losing half our child care centers,” Axne said.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., doesn’t think Congress should let the increased tension sour changes at a deal.

“I think we should be able to talk and chew gum,” she said.

Last week, Slotkin helped introduce a bipartisan relief package that would have continued extra unemployment payments, provided another round of stimulus checks and extended aid to small businesses — but neither House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were on board.

“I was disappointed with the reaction from leadership both in the House and the Senate and I urged them both to reconsider,” Slotkin said.

For many lawmakers, however, the partisan blame game continues.

“I have yet to see the leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, have any sense of urgency on this in terms of what is happening in people’s daily lives,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said.

“Democrats have had months to work with us on COVID relief,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., retorted. “They apparently don’t want to get a deal done and that has nothing to do with the Supreme Court vacancy. They started filibustering well before we lost Justice Ginsburg.”

Both sides doubt a relief deal will come together before the Nov. 3 election, though Republicans and Democrats did manage to come together Tuesday on a plan to keep the government open through Dec. 11.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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