Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a member of the Senate’s leadership, said that the next stimulus bill has to be focused on bolstering employment so Americans can earn a living.
The Senate is slated to return back from its nearly three-week-long break on July 20. Top members of Congress have suggested that passing the stimulus package is a top priority, as the expanded $600 per week unemployment insurance payments are slated to run out at the end of the month.
Barrasso suggested that additional relief checks could be sent to people in the “service industry” and “hospitality industry” who lost their jobs during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
The last stimulus package, the CARES Act, provided checks for people who make up to around $95,000. But “we’re looking at a lower number there,” Barrasso told Fox News on Sunday about who might see direct payments in the latest bill.
House Democrats passed the HEROES Act about a month ago, which would provide up to $1,200 in direct payments and extend the expanded unemployment insurance payments. However, GOP senators said there are too many unnecessary provisions, while adding that the $3 trillion bill is too costly.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has told reporters that the next bill should include more money to state and local governments, more testing, more direct payments, and more funds for hospitals and healthcare workers.
Barrasso, in the interview, criticized the bill and said it would provide “direct checks to illegal immigrants, it’s bailouts to big city and state pension plans that are run by Democrats.”
There is a “general agreement” that Congress needs to pass legislation before the next recess in early August, he said. “There’s a consensus we need to do another bill, that’ll be in the next couple of weeks,” Barrasso remarked.
“We cannot continue to pay people more to sit at home,” Barrasso stressed. “We need to do all we can to get people back to work and earn that paycheck,” he said.
The Wyoming Republican added that the bill should also provide for more testing, treatment, and possibly a vaccine for the CCP virus, a coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19 and emerged in mainland China late last year.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, said earlier this month that he supports another round of stimulus payments, which could be greater than $1,200. However, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the next round of payments will be smaller and aimed at lower-income Americans.
“That kind of economic assistance will probably be very carefully targeted,” Kudlow said at the White House on Friday, reported the Reuters news agency. “It’s not going to be across the board.”