“My personal belief is we will do something before the August break—that’s about the right timing,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the Senate’s GOP leadership, told CNN, indicating that the Senate isn’t likely to move ahead with a recovery package in June.
Since the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus crisis began, lawmakers passed four pieces of legislation, including March’s $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which sent out up to $1,200 checks to millions of people, created the small business safeguard Payment Protection Program, and extended and expanded unemployment insurance.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week that the next round of stimulus legislation will most likely be the last, while saying that $600 extra per month in unemployment insurance won’t be provided.
McConnell told reporters that the “fourth and final” bill will be proposed in “about one month,” coming as unemployment numbers have surged following business closures intended to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Republican leader said the measure would focus on jobs and schools as well as for small businesses and health care. However, he said GOP lawmakers won’t consider an additional $600 per week for unemployment insurance.
“Unemployment insurance is extremely important, but it is not designed to encourage you to stay home; it is designed to get you through a trough until you can get back to work,” McConnell said. “I think you can certainly assume we will not be paying people a bonus for staying home in another bill.”
McConnell, like other Republicans and officials in the White House, said Congress needs more time to assess the economic damage done by the pandemic and whether the United States can recover.
“We need to push the pause button here and think through the next step and do it very carefully,” he said. “We do have the potential long-term health of the country with this level of massive debt.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last month said that there is a likelihood that the United States will need another stimulus bill.
“I think there is a strong likelihood we will need another bill, but we just have $3 trillion we’re pumping into the economy,” he told The Hill. “We’re going to step back for a few weeks and think very clearly how we need to spend more money.”
But Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) both told news outlets that the stimulus legislation might not be needed.
Republicans have also expressed an unwillingness to support the Democrat-passed HEROES Act, which would give $1,200 to eligible Americans, saying there were too many unneeded provisions in the bill.