Photo: U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn said on Thursday that she is hopeful about new discussions on a second Covid-19 relief bill. These discussions between House and Senate leaders have been long-awaited since the first relief bill passed at the beginning of the pandemic.
However, Blackburn does oppose a few aspects of the proposed relief plan created by Republican and Democrat congressional lawmakers.
Blackburn does not believe that certain cities and states should get bail outs, which is one provision that Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi have both agreed on as a way to keep the discussions going.
Blackburn went on to say, “Tennesseans tell me every day ‘Do not send our tax dollars to bail out the city of Chicago or bail out San Francisco,” as well as, “There shouldn’t be money to bail out some of these states and cities that have pension issues.”
Senate Democrats have been pushing a 2.2 trillion dollar plan, while Senate Republicans are pushing their own plan of 500 billion dollars in relief.
The different proposals are the reason that discussions were at a stand-still for so many months. Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell both refused to budge on their original stances.
The new proposal comes from moderate lawmakers with the hope that it can be the foundation for future discussion.
This proposal includes $180 billion in future unemployment benefits, which would allow those receiving benefits to get $300 a week. There would also be a Paycheck Protection Program funded by 288 billion dollars and provide loans to small businesses in order for them to keep workers on payroll.
A few billion more would provide food aid and childcare, and $16 billion would allow continued work on a possible vaccine. However, there is no talk of additional stimulus checks in the new plan. In total, the moderate proposal would end up being $908 billion in relief funding.
The plan will include liability protection so businesses cannot suffer Covid related lawsuits.
Blackburn said, “We are hearing from Tennessee employers, schools and different entities and they would like to have this federal liability protection so they can open their doors, get both people back to work, children back to school and get us on the path to recovery.”
The original plan from Senate Republicans included using unspent funds that equal 430 billion dollars.
House Democrats are also working on legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at a national level.
They also hope to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act. This act would ban ownership of any big cat, including lions and tigers.
Blackburn was hopeful that House Democrats would continue to work with the House Republicans to get the second relief bill passed.
Blackburn went on to say, “We were incredibly disappointed when House Democrats this week decided they were going to talk about cannabis and cats and not deal with COVID and the cash that is needed by so many individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own.”