Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday indicated that the forthcoming pandemic relief bill would include more stimulus checks, saying the U.S. economy needs “another shot of adrenaline.”
McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, said he would be revealing the GOP’s proposal after discussions with White House officials in recent weeks.
The major portions of the bill would include jobs, health care, having children return to school, and liability protections for businesses that open during the pandemic, he said.
“The American job market needs another shot of adrenaline. Senate Republicans are laser-focused on getting American workers their jobs back,” McConnell said, adding that he is in favor of “another round of direct payments” to people.
However, he didn’t say how much the payments would be worth and if there would be an income cutoff point. Previously, McConnell said that people who earn less than $40,000 per year should get the next stimulus payments.
“We need to carve out a new normal,” McConnell said. “We can’t go back to April.”
The GOP leader did not discuss one of President Donald Trump’s top proposals, a payroll tax cut, in his speech on the Senate floor.
“We’re going to be discussing it,” McConnell told The Hill when he was asked about the tax cut. “As you know the secretary of the Treasury is coming up for lunch, and we’re all going to see if we can get on the same page.”
Some Senate Republicans have split with the White House over the need for a payroll tax.
Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that payroll tax cuts are a “public relations problem” and wouldn’t provide much economic impact.
President Trump previously has said that a payroll tax cut would create an incentive for “companies to hire their workers back.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, told reporters this week that the GOP bill will likely be worth approximately $1 trillion dollars, coming in contrast to Democrats’ $3 trillion HEROES Act, which was passed in May.
“We think that will make a big impact,” Mnuchin told reporters on Monday, while adding that “the focus is kids and jobs.”
Speaking after McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asserted that the Republican proposal will likely “fall drastically short.” He called for an extension of the $600-per-week unemployment benefits boost, which is slated to expire in about a week.
“Instead of working with Democrats in either the Senate or the House, Leader McConnell has decided to write the bill behind the closed doors of his office. The same partisan, one-side only process that has failed time and time again to produce successful legislation in the Senate,” Schumer said.