Mcconnell Urges White House To Limit Scope Of Next Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

( Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told President Trump and other White House officials that the next coronavirus stimulus bill shouldn’t exceed $1 trillion.
To reach that goal, sources told media outlet Axios that McConnell says the next relief package needs to be focused on getting money into the hands of Americans immediately.
In order for McConnell to accomplish that, he would need to overcome two big hurdles: One, convincing Trump not to tie infrastructure funding to the next relief package, and two, negotiating with House Democrats to narrow the focus as well.
Just last week, the Democrat-led House of Representatives introduced and passed a “phase 4” stimulus bill that is wide ranging and totals nearly $3 trillion. Not only did McConnell say the next package Republicans negotiate won’t approach that number, but they feel there’s no rush to initiate a new package before figuring out how well the first one did in addressing the country’s economic issues.
According to a Axios source, the Republicans are “trying to steer away from an Obama stimulus package.” That would seemingly mean a smaller package that pushes immediate relief — possibly in the form of more direct payments to Americans — as well as incentives to get people back to work.
McConnell has openly criticized the boosts to unemployment benefits that Democrats insisted in the last relief package, saying the additional $600 per week the federal government is providing is actually incentivizing people not to work. That’s because that money is on top of what they receive from state benefits, which in some instances results in people actually bringing home more money on unemployment than through a paycheck.
Those on this week’s call reiterated the desire to wait on passing another relief package until they can fully analyze the economic impact of the bills in the CARES Act.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for one, said assessing the impact of the CARES Act would help expose any deficiencies in the bill or in certain sectors of the economy, which they could then address in the phase 4 bill.
Following the call, other Republican Senators said that negotiations with Democrats are likely still a few weeks away. Chuck Grassley said the real negotiations probably wouldn’t start until the third or fourth week of June. Meanwhile, Roy Blunt said passing a phase 4 bill before Congress takes recess in July would be considered “optimistic.” He did, however, say the legislation must be passed before Congress takes another recess in August.
If those timelines do prove true, then it would delay the short-term economic relief that many Americans are hoping for. While it could mean they’d see additional payments by late summer or early fall, it’s not as quick as some might hope.
House Democrats’ bill included another round of direct payments to most Americans, with each qualifying person receiving $1,200 and another $1,200 for each dependent child. Republicans have said in the past they are open to more of these direct payments, but haven’t specified how much they’d like to give.