U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants Senate Republicans to reach an agreement with the White House on the next phase of legislation to address the impact of the coronavirus by the end of the week. McConnell would then seek to negotiate with House Democrats for a possible vote on the package early next week.
This would be the third such package passed by Congress.
McConnell’s plan takes a different course of action than the second package which passed the House last week was negotiated between Democratic Speaker of the Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The measure passed with bipartisan support, including the votes of Mississippi’s Congressmen Bennie Thompson (D) and Michael Guest (R).
Congressmen Steven Palazzo (R) and Trent Kelly (R) did not vote on the measure.
President Donald Trump and his White House are putting forward the third proposal that nears $1 trillion to include direct financial assistance for Americans as well as aid for business affected by the pandemic, such as airlines and other industries of commerce.
Mississippi’s senior U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R) is playing a key role in negotiating the coronavirus relief packages as he is the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, while the state’s junior Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) has been in active discussions with Gov. Tate Reeves on where the state stands as it works to control the spread of the virus.
Sen. Hyde-Smith’s office told Y’all Politics, “The process of writing the so-called Phase 3 legislation is ongoing. Senator Hyde-Smith will want to see the specifics included next COVID-19 response bill, but she has said assistance should be timely, focused, short-term, and targeted to those who need it.”
Both Senators voted in favor of the first package aimed at providing assistance for coronavirus response and are expected to support the second package being voted on in the Senate today. The Senators are still reviewing the third package and have yet to indicate where they stand on the direct assistance proposal being floated by the President’s team.
Mississippi’s Congressional delegation members are reviewing the options and considering what this means for the nation and the Magnolia State.
“The coronavirus outbreak in the United States has presented our country with a new threat and we have already seen a considerable change in our everyday lives,” Congressman Guest told Y’all Politics. “We must meet this new challenge with calm and clear-headed legislation if necessary. I am reviewing the Administration’s proposal for a third coronavirus response package to better understand its economic impact and I’m working with my colleagues in the House to present a piece of legislation that best reflects our nation’s current situation.”
Congressman Thompson echoed Guest’s sentiment, with his office stating, “The Congressman would like to see the entire package before forming an opinion on it.”
“I will continue to work with House and Senate leadership along with members of President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force to address the economic impact of COVID-19, weighing all options on the table,” Congressman Kelly added.
To date, Mississippi is reporting 34 confirmed cases of coronavirus.