WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — As the coronavirus pandemic spreads in the United States, Congress is trying to pass a massive relief bill.
So far, the House passed its version, but the Senate has yet to take it up for a vote, leaving millions of Americans waiting for help.
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin said the Senate cannot afford to waste more time.
“It needs to pass this legislation now,” Baldwin (D-WI) said.
Late Friday night, the House passed a bill that would provide two weeks paid sick leave, emergency small business loans, and money for vaccine research, among other items.
“I’d like to see the Senate act today and have the president sign it by the end of the day,” Baldwin said.
Before that can happen, the House must approve corrections to the bill, which was rushed to a vote so most House members could leave Washington for a week-long recess.
“My understanding is that it is literally technical corrections and not any significant, substantive change,” Baldwin said.
Normally this would require a quick voice vote by whichever members remain in Washington, but some House members are reportedly insisting on another vote by the full House on the bill
“We cannot consider the legislation until we get it,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
McConnell said the goal is to reach a bipartisan solution soon as they did with the emergency spending bill of $8 billion several weeks ago.
“That’s what we’re going to keep doing this week, particularly if the House of Representatives can actually complete its work,” he said.
It might be mid-week before House members return to Washington to send the completed bill to the Senate for a vote, and then signature by the president.