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Maine's Senators Say Congress Should Stay In Session

Andrew Harnik
King wipes his microphone as he arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee meeting

Members of Congress traditionally celebrate Memorial Day by taking a week off, but Maine's two Senators say with the need for COVID-19 relief legislation, that should not be the case this year.

“We’re going to be here for another week, and Mitch McConnell says we are doing nothing about Covid, and then we are going to take another break,” says U.S. independent Senator Angus King. King says he is frustrated by the Republican leadership in the Senate that has not worked to reach a bipartisan agreement on relief legislation.

“To just say, to just cavalierly say “I’m not going to do anything next week, and maybe we will talk about it later in June,” I don’t think that is a clear recognition of the magnitude of what is facing the American people and what is facing our people in Maine,” says King. U.S. Republican Senator Susan Collins says she shares that frustration and is urging leadership not to take the traditional Memorial Day break.

“I think that we should cancel the recess until we get an agreement on this package,” says Collins. “Given the crisis that we face, I think it would be far more productive if the leaders in both the House and the Senate put away partisan wish lists and seriously began to negotiate a package.”

Both Senators believe there is bipartisan support in the Senate for aid to states and local governments and help for individuals as the pandemic continues. They say that help is needed sooner rather than later.

Originally published May 17, 2020 at 3:45 p.m. ET.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.