Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asks questions during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in this, May 6, 2020, file photo. Credit: Greg Nash / AP

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Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine said the trillion-dollar Republican pandemic relief package comes up short in addressing the needs of workers, businesses, states and municipalities.

King is critical of Senate Republican leaders for taking weeks to float their response to the proposal passed by House Democrats, and waiting until just days before expanded unemployment benefits of $600 a week are set to expire.

“We shouldn’t even be having to do this, but we do,” he said. “We should have done it two or three weeks ago, not wait until the last minute.”

King said Maine’s economy will lose about $30 million a week under the GOP plan to reduce expanded unemployment benefits.

“It’s going to be incredibly hard, or would be incredibly hard on those individuals but also on businesses and restaurants and every business in Maine that counts on people being able to pay their check, pay their bills,” he said.

King said any final plan that emerges will have to do more to address the needs of the unemployed, of states and of municipalities, and offer more funding for education than the $105 billion in the GOP plan.

King said there are some good provisions in both the Republican and Democratic proposals, and that it’s time for both sides to compromise.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.