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Published on October 1, 2020 9:26 PM

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Vulnerable Senate Republicans raise alarm over coronavirus impasse
With their majority on the line, Senate Republicans are beginning to fret about the prospect of facing voters in the final weeks of the campaign without a new round of coronavirus aid being enacted.

As the talks between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin teetered Thursday on the verge of collapse, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is trying to stay outside the blast zone. Many of his members up for reelection say it would be a mistake for the Senate to adjourn for the election without taking action to give people some relief.

"There's no reason we shouldn't all be here until the election if that's what it takes to pass a follow up to the CARES Act," said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who is in a tight race with Democrat Cal Cunningham. The pair were scheduled to face off in a debate on Thursday night.

"I do not think we should recess without a coronavirus package," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is facing Sara Gideon, the Democratic Maine state House speaker. "We're not that far apart."

Heading into the election empty-handed would surely be a drag on vulnerable senators and House members in both parties. The U.S. economy is mired in a recession, the coronavirus is continuing to spread across the country with no signs of relenting and massive layoffs are being reported daily. Congress is in line to shoulder much of the blame for not offering any relief to the crisis since the spring.

The Senate appears to be sticking around for at least another week, if not more, to keep the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett moving forward. Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on Barrett are set to begin Oct. 12. And the House can ...