Top Senate Democrat says Republican McConnell has agreed to resume COVID-19 relief talks

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives for the news conference following the weekly Senate Republican caucus policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said on Thursday that Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to resume COVID-19 relief talks as cases surge across the country, CNBC reported.

“Last night, they’ve agreed to sit down and the staffs are going to sit down today or tomorrow to try to begin to see if we can get a real good COVID relief bill,” Schumer said during a news conference in New York, according to the news outlet.

“So there’s been a little bit of a breakthrough in that McConnell’s folks are finally sitting down and talking to us.”

McConnell’s office did not immediately return a call to Reuters.

On Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden expressed hope that Republicans in the U.S. Congress would be more inclined to move forward on COVID-19 relief legislation after President Donald Trump leaves office in January.

Democrats have proposed a $2.2 trillion spending package, while Senate Republicans have sought repeatedly to move a much narrower $500 billion bill, only to be blocked by Democrats, who say the legislation is inadequate.

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