ROANOKE, Va. – Virginia Senator Tim Kaine voiced his concern Thursday after President Trump pulled the plug on a new COVID-19 relief deal.
Democrats and the Trump administration struggled to agree on what provisions a fifth aid package would include and how much the proposal would cost. Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill last week, while Republicans offered a $1.6 trillion package.
Kaine said Democrats were caught off guard by Trump’s declaration Tuesday, especially when the U.S. is down 10 million jobs due to the crisis.
“We were stunned by it. That has ended the discussion about whether a COVID bill takes place for the time being. But it’s not ended the need, and it’s not ended the imperative that we find the next package,” said Kaine. “My belief is that we will, but it will be a package that we will work on in November or December rather than in October. We should have done it in June. The House acted in May, the Senate should’ve acted in June.”
Kaine also spoke out against the Trump administration’s attempt to fill the Supreme Court vacancy in the midst of COVID-19.
Kaine said filling the seat before the Nov. 3 election could affect the Court’s hearing next month for a case that could eliminate the Affordable Cares Act.
“If they have to break their word, okay so be it, but they can rush a nominee through in an unprecedented way even when members of the Senate are sick and are not able to meet with the nominee or hold a hearing in-person,” Kaine said. “If they can rush it through so Judge Barrett can be on the card on Nov. 10 when California verse Texas is argued, they believe that’s the insurance they need to take away insurance from tens of millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of Virginians.”
The Senate was scheduled to be in session this week, but that changed following positive cases amongst the GOP.