A top Senate Democrat joined a growing number of rank-and-file lawmakers in backing a scaled-back coronavirus relief deal that excludes fiscal relief for states and local governments — a top priority for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, the No. 2. Senate Democrat, called on Pelosi to set aside her demands for a massive multitrillion-dollar aid package and back the $748 billion bipartisan measure.
“There is no excuse for the speaker or the leader, you’ve got to give us a vote,” Durbin said Monday during a press conference announcing the legislation.
The $748 billion proposal, released by a dozen centrist senators on Monday, includes funding for education, vaccine distribution, transportation, small business relief and federal unemployment aid. A more controversial $160 billion add-on would include aid for state and local governments and a liability shield for businesses against COVID-related lawsuits — the two thorniest issues that have plagued negotiations for months.
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