Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his Republican caucus were the focus of a highly-critical New York Times editorial.
“After three weeks in session, the United States Senate emptied out again on Friday, as lawmakers fled Washington for the Memorial Day recess. They left without even pretending to tackle the next round of coronavirus relief,” the newspaper noted. “This is how the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, wants it.”
“The Democratic-led House passed a $3 trillion relief package on May 15. That bill was imperfect but it was something. Mr. McConnell, on the other hand, has repeatedly said he’s in no hurry for the Senate to offer its own proposal. He has put talks on an indefinite pause, saying he wants to see how the economy responds to previous relief measures,” the paper reported. “The Senate may get around to putting together a plan when it reconvenes next month. Or perhaps it will in July.”
“This course of inaction is unsustainable,” The Times warned, noting that new jobless claims of almost 39 million Americans with unemployment approaching 20 percent.
“Behind these numbers are real people suffering significant hardship,” the paper reminded. “With unemployment predicted to stay high through 2021, lawmakers need to do more to help those Americans whose jobs have vanished, many never to return.”
The editorial board concluded, “it’s time for Mr. McConnell to stop his foot-dragging and get serious about making America work again.”
This was not the first time McConnell has received criticism for vacationing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March, the Senate went on a three-week vacation after passing an earlier coronavirus relief bill.