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With time running out to pass another COVID-19 relief package by the end of the year, the Senate leaders blamed each other Monday for the lack of a deal.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Democrats’ “strategy has been all or nothing. And so struggling Americans have of course, got nothing.”

The remarks come as Capitol Hill is struggling to figure out how to deliver long-delayed pandemic relief, including additional help for businesses hard hit by the pandemic, further unemployment benefits, funding to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and funding demanded by Democrats for state and local governments.

Disagreements flared Monday over one key provision that has been a priority for McConnell — a proposed liability shield from COVID-19-related lawsuits for businesses, schools and organizations that reopen.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted McConnell for his refusal to compromise on the package, complaining that the Senate has “only been allowed to vote on partisan Republican proposals, each of which has been sorely inadequate and each of which has contained poison pills designed to ensure the bill’s failure.”

Republicans initially proposed a sweeping five-year liability shield, retroactive to December 2019, to protect companies and organizations from COVID-19-related lawsuits.

Democrats, along with their allies in labor and civil rights groups, roundly dismissed that approach as a danger to workers.

Talks continue on a package that would be attached to a larger year-end spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown this coming weekend.

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