COVID-19 relief negotiations resume as Senate returns

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers are beginning to return to Capitol Hill and the top priority is a coronavirus relief deal.

Negotiations have been stalled for months.

“I hope that we can get away from this Republican and Democrat thing and just get the right thing done,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said.

With election week over, Kinzinger wants Congress to come together to finally pass a COVID-19 relief package.

“This is a serious moment and Congress has got to do its job,” Kinzinger said.

With nearly 100,000 new coronavirus cases nationwide and more than 1,000 deaths reported daily, many hospitals are overwhelmed.

“The imperative to act could not be greater,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

After months of failed talks, Pelosi is calling on Republican leadership to return to the table.

“We have a responsibility to find our common ground,” Pelosi said.

But so far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t willing to accept the $2 trillion plan Pelosi says is needed to help schools, businesses and hospitals crippled by the virus.

“I hope our Democratic colleagues will finally put aside their all of nothing obstruction,” McConnell said.

Kinzinger says after looking at a new data, a more aggressive deal may be necessary.

“It’s probably going to be big. I don’t like spending money that we haven’t paid for, but there’s moments when you do that and that’s now,” Kinzinger said.

He hopes the loss of some Democratic House seats in last weeks’ election puts more pressure on Pelosi to also compromise.

“I’m pretty optimistic in the next month or so, we’ll get that done,” Kinzinger said.

In the meantime, President-elect Joe Biden is devising his own plan of action.

“We’re still facing a very dark winter,” Biden said.

Biden on Monday launched a transitional coronavirus team focused on preparing to ramp up testing, contact tracing and protective gear after his inauguration.

For the fourth day in a row, President Donald Trump did not hold any public events.

Senators returned to the Capitol Monday and the House returns next week.

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