“We’re in the process of developing tests that would be easier to take … Those tests can be much more helpful than tests that can take four or five days to find out the results,” said Blunt, who oversees the appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over health care and education spending.
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., agreed on the need to provide funding for more “adequate” and “rapid” tests, which he noted will be needed to help schools reopen.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., who was in the meeting with Blunt and Alexander, said the group plans to meet again Tuesday morning. “Our staffs are working,” Shelby said. “We’re trying to figure out how to deliver the best thing in this crisis to our schools, to everything else that people are challenged with.”
The Republican proposal is unlikely to draw any Democratic support and is meant to serve as the starting point for bipartisan negotiations against Democrats’ $3.5 trillion relief package, which that chamber passed in May.
Schumer sent a letter to his caucus Monday saying the legislation Republicans are drafting “comes up short in a number of vital areas, such as extending unemployment benefits or funding for rental assistance, hazard premium pay for frontline workers, or investments in communities of color being ravaged by the virus, and many other necessary provisions.”
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