GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told fellow Republicans on a call Thursday morning that he and the White House are opposed to the new coronavirus bill introduced late Wednesday night by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. The legislation reportedly offered emergency relief to Americans affected by the virus, including free coronavirus testing, new unemployment insurance, and paid medical leave, and was scheduled for a House vote on Thursday afternoon.
NEWS — @GOPLeader KEVIN MCCARTHY told Republicans that he is opposed to the Democrats coronavirus bill, a blow to hopes for biparitsanship and perhaps a harbinger for the bill’s prospects in the GOP Senate.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 12, 2020
The WH has made its preference clear, but this is a bad sign.
The measure is expected to still pass the House without McCarthy's blessing, but could face an uphill battle in the Senate if Trump opposes it. In a press conference, McCarthy explained why the Democrats' offering was "unworkable."
The legislation that Speaker Pelosi introduced at 11pm last night—written by her staff and her staff alone—and plans to vote on just 12 hours later is not only completely partisan. It is unworkable.— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 12, 2020
I’ll explain why at my press conference at 10am ET: https://t.co/Pk4jPUtJIS
The bill, McCarthy explained, "comes up short." He identified a few "major problems," including how it mandates that the Social Security Administration provide paid sick leave. That, the leader said, "would take six months and hamper the administration to put out social security for those who need it right now." The measure also "forces" businesses to provide paid permanent sick leave for employees with no sunsets.
At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are still in negotiations.
McCarthy added in his presser that he believes they can "get this done" in the next 24 hours.
On Wednesday night, President Trump delivered a serious and somber address about the next steps his administration is taking to try and stop this virus in its tracks. Among their points of order: halting all travel to the U.S. from Europe, barring the United Kingdom, starting Friday at midnight. The ban will last 30 days.
He also recently signed an $8 billion package to combat the virus.