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Potential COVID relief comes as Iowans prepare for eviction protection to expire

(KWWL) -- During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Republican Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a surprising compromised with Democrats.

Top republican senators, including Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, suggested the two parties pass what they could agree on and tackle the differences after the holiday. McConnell saying that leaving for the holiday break without new COVID relief "cannot happen."

"We know that our small businesses are hurting. We have childcare centers that are closing. We really need to step in as congress and make sure we're supporting our constituents," Ernst added.

McConnell suggested dropping state and local aid in exchange for dropping the Republican backed measure of liability protections for businesses, schools, etc.

"We know the new administration is going to be asking for another package. What I recommend is we set aside liability, we set aside state and local, and pass the things that we can agree on, knowing full well we'll be back at this after the first of the year," Senator McConnell said.

Democrats responded quickly, calling the idea "untenable."

 "Senator McConnell has put the jobs of firefighters, ambulance workers, sanitation officers, police officers in jeopardy. Every governor and mayor across the country has been fighting to keep these people working. And McConnell is pulling the rug out from under them," said Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer.

In Iowa, the number of new cases per the state's population is doing okay, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Economically, it's likely Iowans are still struggling to make ends meat. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced she would allocate $9 million dollars for emergency housing assistance. Nearly 13,000 Iowans have receieved $30 million in total from the state's Eviction and Foreclosure Protection Program.

That number is low compared to the amount of those in need. The National Low Income Housing Coalition says 99,082 Iowans are in a extremely low income household, making no more than $25,000 a year for a 4 person household.

For those in need, a number of programs are still available through Operation Threshold and also the Iowa Housing Recovery program.

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Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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