McGrath: McConnell’s COVID Relief Bill ‘Woefully Inadequate’

LEXINGTON, Ky. – As Mitch McConnell finally released the draft of his next COVID legislation months later than it was needed, retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath demanded that he do more to protect Kentuckians’ health and economic security. 

“Mitch McConnell delayed taking action for months as almost 150,000 people died,” said McGrath, who is running for U.S. Senate. “Now, he has released a bill that is woefully inadequate in almost every way.”

McGrath said stronger action and more funding was needed to help states and cities balance their budgets and protect workers’ jobs and pensions, to guarantee states can run test-and-trace programs effectively, and to ensure frontline workers are protected. She also said that frontline workers should receive hazard pay and that the added unemployment insurance benefit of $600 must be extended. 

“Mitch has made his number one priority changing corporate liability laws to allow big corporations and special interests off the hook if they endanger their workers, while at the same time working to ensure the unemployment insurance that is keeping families afloat right now is as small as possible,” McGrath said. “This bill shows us once again exactly where his priorities lie. His donors will always come before everyday working Kentuckians, over 50% of whom have needed to file for unemployment support at some point during this pandemic.” 

McGrath also criticized the way that McConnell has failed to support schools adequately, saying, “Our schools need many layers of support: funding for masks and PPE for every worker and student, funding for testing and aid for any needed infrastructure changes, but this legislation won’t make that possible.”

She said there is a way forward to get more students safely back into classrooms over time, if Mitch were willing to take the action needed.

“Every community has to be able to make its own decision, supported by testing data,” McGrath said. “We should have had a plan that helped communities voluntarily test students, teachers and staff for the coronavirus this summer to determine how rampant the virus was and to establish a baseline for further testing during the school year. If rates were close to zero, schools could have planned to open, and support to continue testing in order to identify if and when an outbreak begins could have been put in place.”

“Our children and teachers should be receiving every bit of aid needed to make this school year safe. But Mitch has always cared more about big money politics than our youth.”  

McGrath’s full plan for an effective COVID response can be found here.