March 12, 2020 / 2:30 PM / 17 days ago

U.S. House can fix 'unworkable' coronavirus bill in 24 to 48 hours: top Republican

FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) holds a news conference at the U.S Capitol during U.S. President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Voisard/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives expressed strong opposition to coronavirus legislation on which the Democratic-led chamber is expected to vote on Thursday, but also said lawmakers could probably reach an agreement on changes within the next day or two.

“The legislation that Speaker Pelosi introduced at 11 p.m. last night — written by her staff and her staff alone — and plans to vote on just 12 hours later is not only completely partisan. It is unworkable,” Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote in a tweet, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.

At a news conference after sending the tweet, McCarthy said Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump’s administration were open to working through potential stumbling blocks and that a bill could pass the House soon.

“I think we can get this done in 24 or 48 hours,” he said. “I think it’s critical that we do.”

One “glaring problem” with the bill as written is having the Social Security Administration administer a paid sick leave because it will take more than six months to set up, McCarthy said. He added that Republicans would like to see an employee retention tax credit in the bill, as well as provisions to make more face masks available.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and David Morgan in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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