July 20, 2020 at 2:10 AM EDT
Endangered GOP senators under pressure as Senate considers new coronavirus measures
The spiraling pandemic and the increasingly virulent politics around Washington’s handling of the novel coronavirus are raising the pressure on Senate Republicans as they try to craft a fresh coronavirus relief package.
As the Senate returns this week for a three-week sprint before the August break, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing competing demands from President Trump and Republican senators, including some who are up for reelection in states hit hard by the virus and who are coming under withering attacks by Democratic challengers over the pandemic.
In particular, the expiration of an additional $600 per week in unemployment insurance by July 31 is adding pressure on vulnerable GOP senators as 20 million to 30 million people remain out of work. McConnell and many other Republicans adamantly oppose extending the enhanced benefit at its current level, saying it discourages some from returning to work because they make more money by staying home.
By Seung Min Kim, Rachael Bade and Erica Garner