Government layoffs possible unless state gets more COVID-19 relief money, Pritzker says

Governor JB Pritzker is warning that state and local governments could soon be forced to cut thousands of government employees unless Congress and President Donald Trump send cash.

But Republican leaders say it won't happen, and a showdown in the U.S. Senate could come this week.

Three months after House Democrats approved $3 trillion in a new round of coronavirus relief, Senate Republicans propose that only one-tenth of that is needed right now.

“The American people don't need us to keep arguing over what might be perfect. They need us to actually make a law,” said Senator Mitch McConnell.

The Republican proposal would add $300 a week to unemployment checks, down from the $600 boost that expired last month. Democrat Bernie Sanders tweeted that it also included $161 million "corporate welfare to the coal industry." But for many Democrats, the biggest objection is that Republicans offer nothing to local governments, such as the state of Illinois, which is warning of layoffs without at least $5 billion.

“Big corporations all across the nation have received billions and billions and billion of dollars of aid. But now when it comes to the very social services, the very education, the frontline, you know, first responders--our police, our firefighters--now they're gonna fall short?” Pritzker said.

Some Democrats want up to a trillion dollars for states and cities, though some Republican lawmakers oppose any additional aid, suggesting the key to recovery is to fully re-open all sectors of the economy.


“Trump is actively trying to kill New York City,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Sen. McConnell’s coronavirus relief proposal faces opposition from some Republicans, as well as Democrats, and may not have enough votes to move forward later this week.