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Sen. Mitch McConnell Touts CARES Act During Visit To Covington

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used a brief appearance in Covington Monday to talk about the federal CARES Act passed earlier this year to provide economic assistance during the pandemic.McConnell toured CTI, which is conducting research on more than 20 COVID-19 treatment and prevention programs worldwide. It's currently recruiting participants for an upcoming vaccine trial billed as the largest in the world.

The company's founder and CEO, Tim Schroeder, says many of those programs wouldn't be possible without help from the federal CARES Act.

"Our industry would not have been able to work as efficiently, safely or effectively without the support of the federal government," he says.

Lawmakers, however, have been unable to agree on terms for a second coronavirus relief bill.

"I think it ought to be roughly a trillion dollars," McConnell says. "I think it ought to include liability protection - liability protection for everyone related only to the coronavirus. We would not seek to rewrite the personal injury laws of every state in America, just the coronavirus - from Dec. 2019 for the next four years."

He wants states to have control over how children return to school and additional small business loan assistance.

"We need, in my view, more money for hospitals and health care providers of all kinds," he adds. "And we're keeping an eye on making sure that to the extent that the government needs to be part of the funding process to get us to the vaccine and to better treatment, we want to be there for that as well."

Once a vaccine is approved, McConnell points out it will be a massive undertaking to produce enough and distribute.

Asked about the Republican National Convention, McConnell noted he's taped his speech and it's expected to air Thursday night. He also brushed off any concerns that people have brought up about Republicans not adjusting the party's platform, saying "honestly, platforms aren't paid that much attention to by the voters anyway so I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference one way or the other.

"I think when you've got a presidential election and you have an incumbent president, the president's job performance is the most important thing for the voters and I think very few of them pay much attention to what the platform is."

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.