Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spent much of last week taking credit for the coronavirus funding communities in his own state of Kentucky will soon receive. But he continues to block $1 trillion in aid to states and localities hurt by the pandemic — including in his state.
McConnell, a Republican, announced on Wednesday that Christian County, Kentucky, would receive $58,008 from the coronavirus relief bill passed in March to help stabilize the U.S. economy.
"As Senate Majority Leader, I'm constantly working to deliver the resources to overcome the coronavirus crisis and begin to safely and smartly reopen Kentucky," he boasted.
He referred to the bill, which was approved by Congress with bipartisan support, as "my CARES Act."
That same day, he announced that Lexington, Kentucky, would receive more than $478,000 thanks to his legislation, repeating the same language nearly verbatim.
A day earlier, he had bragged of nearly $2 million in coronavirus relief funds for the city of Louisville.
But while he has been claiming credit for federal funds for his state, McConnell has been also been blocking vital funds for Kentucky and the rest of the country.
In May, the House of Representatives passed another coronavirus relief bill, the HEROES Act, which would provide an additional roughly $1 trillion to state and local governments.
At least 21.5 million Americans are unemployed, and tax revenues have dropped significantly in states across the country. With about 43% of its citizens filing unemployment claims since the start of the pandemic, Kentucky is among the hardest-hit states. The HEROES Act aims to make up some of that gap.
But McConnell has adamantly refused to bring the legislation up for a vote in the Senate, ridiculing it as "a totally unserious effort" from an "unserious House majority," in a statement released in May. He declared the bill "dead on arrival."
He also vowed in April to oppose direct aid for the states, dismissing the idea as "Blue State bailouts." Instead, he suggested broke states consider filing for bankruptcy — which they are not able to do legally.
McConnell said in late May that he will wait a month to decide on whether to approve any more pandemic response legislation. And he also said that would be the last bill, no matter what else happens with the coronavirus.
"We're taking a careful look at a fourth and final bill," he said on May 29. "You could anticipate the decision being made on whether to go forward in about a month. And it will be narrowly crafted, designed to help us where we are a month from now, not where we were three months ago."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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