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'We Can't Shut The Economy Down Again.' McConnell Maintains Another Lockdown Too Costly

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AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
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Senator Mitch McConnell signaled another major federal relief package is in the works, but during a swing through Central Kentucky Wednesday the Republican leader warned the country can't afford another economic standstill.

Despite surging coronavirus cases in hotspots across the country, McConnell told a Kentucky audience that business must go on.

"We can't shut the economy down again," the lawmaker announced. "We don't have enough borrowing capacity to continue to prop up the economy much longer, which is why the mask is so important, for everybody to understand they have a personal responsibility to try to get us through this period until we get the vaccine."

The senator stopped short of calling on Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to order the wearing of face coverings, saying he would leave that decision to him.

But the lawmaker is offering hints on what the next federal relief package may look like. First on the list: liability protection meant to shield businesses, hospitals, doctors, universities, and other entities from COVID-related lawsuits.

"Nobody should have to face an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of a pandemic," McConnell said. "We're not going to rewrite the tort laws for every state in America. This will be narrowly crafted for this particular disease."

Other focuses of the likely legislation include "schools, jobs, and healthcare."

McConnell dismissed the more extensive relief bill crafted by the Democratic-controlled House, arguing it would double the $3 trillion already spent in response to the crisis. The senator expects his chamber to work on its bill over the next few weeks.

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