Paid sick leave could be a sticking point as Senate considers coronavirus relief bill

Brendan Morrow

The Senate is expected this week to pass a coronavirus relief bill that has President Trump's approval, but it could potentially be held up a bit.

The House of Representatives early on Saturday passed an economic relief bill negotiated between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Trump said he "fully" supports the bill, which provides free coronavirus testing and requires companies with fewer than 500 employees provide paid sick leave.

The Senate is expected to pass the coronavirus bill after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) canceled a planned recess. But Bloomberg reports that action could be delayed "up to several days" as the bill is "running into resistance from some Republicans worried about the impact of a temporary paid sick leave provision on small businesses."

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) is one of those senators objecting paid sick leave provision, saying he hopes the Senate passes a "bill that does more good than harm — or, if it won't, pass nothing at all." Bloomberg notes that "Senate rules allow any one senator to delay a final vote for days." Mnuchin said over the weekend said "we'll work with the Senate on whatever minor changes we need."

In addition, Bloomberg reports the House has to "pass technical corrections to the bill, which was drafted on the fly," which "adds another wrinkle that could slow final action in the Senate."

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