Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the Senate will wait several weeks to decide on another stimulus bill, echoing comments made by White House officials.
“We’ll discuss a way forward in the next couple weeks,” McConnell told reporters, which came after Trump spoke at a Republican conference lunch.
The House passed a fourth stimulus bill known as the HEROES Act last week, which would set up paying eligible individuals $1,200, provide more aid to essential workers, provide funding to state and local governments, and other initiatives. Top Republicans in the Senate, however, have signaled that they would not vote on the bill as it contains too many unnecessary provisions.
“We still believe with regard to the coronavirus we need to assess what we’ve already done, take a look at what worked and what didn’t work,” the majority leader added, according to the Reuters news agency.
The White House has indicated that a fourth stimulus package might not be needed.
“I think it’s possible that we will see a strong-enough economy that we don’t need a phase four,” White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told reporters on Monday, adding that top officials are currently waiting and seeing whether the U.S. economy can rebound after states reopen amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus crisis.
Starting in March, numerous state and local governments implemented stay-at-home orders, closing all businesses and services deemed nonessential in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, which emerged last year in mainland China.
But there has been mounting pressure—in part, driven by huge unemployment numbers—to reopen areas of the country and allow people to go back to work while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“If the economy continues the momentum that we’re beginning to see over the last couple of weeks of data, then I think that one might conclude that the stimulus we’ve already passed is enough,” Hassett also said. “But if that doesn’t happen, we’re really learning everyday a little bit more about how the economy responds to this.”
The remarks made by Hassett and McConnell suggest that top Republican officials believe the nation’s economy can return to pre-pandemic levels.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that he believes the country’s situation will improve but expects large unemployment numbers in the interim.
“Working closely with governors, we are beginning to open the economy in a way that minimizes risks to workers and customers,” Mnuchin said, reported Reuters. “We expect economic conditions to improve in the third and fourth quarters.”
But some governors have argued that the HEROES Act is necessary amid budget shortfalls.
“The [HEROES] Act is the best approach,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said on May 17, according to the Sacramento Bee. “We need the federal government. We need that support.”