Coronavirus relief bill at a standstill; area Congress members urging Senate to take action

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – This week, the United States reached a grim milestone in the fight against COVID-19. The country surpassed 200,000 deaths with confirmed cases nearing 7-million.

However, as the death toll continues to rise and the economy hurts due to the pandemic, talks for a new coronaviurs relief package are still at a standstill as neither party can agree on a solution.

Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut’s Congress members spoke out urging the Senate to take action in passing a coronavirus relief bill.

“The numbers are now at point where we forget that each and every one of those 200,000 Americans was somebody’s sister husband child,” Representative Jim Himes said.

Democratic Policy and Communications Chair, David Cicilline, and Representatives Jim Himes and Lori Trahan are urging the Senate to shift focus off of filling the vacant Supreme Court seat and back onto coronavirus relief.

“They deserved a Senate willing to treat urgently needed relief,” Representative Lori Trahan said. “They deserved legislation with the same level of urgency then they do a Supreme Court vacancy just six weeks before an election.”

Democrats proposed the Heroes Act. The House passed the bill more than four months ago, but Congressman Cicilline says the Senate refuses to act.

“We know defeating this virus is key to getting Americans back to work,” Representative Cicilline said.

The Heroes Act is a $3-trillion relief package that would provide people another round of a $1,200 check. It would also put $75-billion into testing, tracing and treatment and provide nearly a trillion dollars to state and local governments who need funds to pay first responders and healthcare workers.

Meanwhile, the GOP planned a stimulus check of the same amount in the $1-trillion Heals Act, which is a relief proposed by Republican Senators in July.

Cicilline says lives are at risk and they are willing to sit down and talk and hopefully, come to a compromise.

“We are ready and willing to negotiate,” Cicilline said. “We are calling the Senate to sit down with us and get something done. We need to do all we can to honor those lost and save the lives of all we represent.”

The House is scheduled to go on recess on October 2 to allow lawmakers to focus on the elections, but Pelosi said the chamber will remain in session until a bill has been agreed.

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