WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that the Senate will vote Wednesday on the House’s emergency coronavirus bill.

“I will vote to pass their bill,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning. “This is the time for urgent, bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that would help even a subset of workers.”

Although the exact timing of the vote remains unclear, the bill is expected to pass and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law.

McConnell said he recognized that the House bill had some “imperfections” and that further legislation would be necessary. He also stressed that the Senate would not leave Washington “until we deliver.”

March 18, 202002:03

On Tuesday, McConnell advised his Republican colleagues who felt that the bill had “shortcomings” to “gag and vote for it anyway.”

The House passed the sweeping bill with a bipartisan vote early Saturday morning, but progress was stalled after Democrats and the Trump administration disagreed over how expansive paid leave should be for workers infected with the coronavirus or caring for a family member or child with the illness.

The Trump administration voiced concerns that paid leave could overburden small businesses and changes were made to the initial bill narrowing who would be eligible. Those changes passed the House Monday evening.

The House bill also would provide for free coronavirus testing, food assistance and unemployment benefits. The legislation is the second coronavirus response measure and is expected to be followed by a third aid package.

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it was proposing a $1 trillion response plan that would include $250 billion for direct checks to individuals.

Republican senators met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Tuesday on Capitol Hill to discuss the third measure.

In an effort follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for social distancing, McConnell said that members should “come in and vote and leave” to avoid any close contact while on the floor.


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