April 22, 2020 Blog, Press Release

After bailing out corporations, McConnell turns his back on Kentucky’s first responders and educators

Mitch says no relief for Kentucky public employees unless GOP can push partisan priorities

In a radio interview with conservative host Hugh Hewitt, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell said he is willing to put Kentucky first responders, educators and other public employees in danger in order to try and win partisan concessions on future COVID-19 relief bills.

In the interview, McConnell was asked about relief for state and local governments, where he floated an array of partisan ideas — including forcing changes to employee retirements, state bankruptcies and other ideas — that would need to happen in order for such relief to occur.

The alternative to such relief would be to force governors to reduce their stay at home orders, McConnell said.

That puts thousands of Kentucky first responders  — like EMS, firefighters and police officers — who rely on pay and retirement benefits from state and local governments and who have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, at risk both from a public health and financial perspective.

“After making sure billions went to corporations — his main political donor class — Mitch McConnell is now telling Kentuckians on the front lines of this pandemic that they can wait, and that he doesn’t care about their financial or personal well-being,” Marisa McNee, spokesperson for the Kentucky Democratic Party, said.  “Kentuckians deserve better than this.”

McConnell’s partisan attack on Kentuckians comes as thousands of small businesses are left waiting for relief. Meanwhile his corporate donor base raided the so-called “small business relief fund”.

Additionally, McConnell’s crass political play has left many state and local governments picking up the slack in millions in unemployment benefits, overtime for first responders and more unforeseen costs. That burden is especially threatening to Kentucky where public employee furloughs and pay reductions have already begun in some cities

Here’s how Kentuckians are already feeling the pain of McConnell’s inaction:

“If Mitch McConnell is willing to stand up for his corporate political donors, he needs to be willing to stand up for all of us here in Kentucky. It’s time for McConnell to stop playing political games and finally work for Kentuckians,” McNee said.