Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY,
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Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that Congress will decide whether to adopt a “final” coronavirus support package in the coming weeks.
“We’re looking closely at a fourth and final bill,”
Congress has split over how to tackle the economic and health crises caused by the pandemic next. While tens of millions of people are applying for unemployment insurance and the state and local governments are staring at budget deficits, the House Democrats adopted a far-reaching $ 3 trillion stimulus package this month. McConnell has since stressed that he wants to see how efforts to reopen companies in most parts of the country affect the economy and the labor market before he enacts further legislation.
Democrats who have pushed for action, including another round of direct payments of up to $ 1,200 and an extension of increased federal unemployment benefits, have argued that the need to meet vital expenses requires more immediate action.
“We need a break? Tell the virus,” House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday. “Is the virus taking a break? Is hunger taking a break in America?”
In a separate letter to colleagues on Friday, Chuck Schumer, chair of the Senate Minority, D-N.Y., Urged the Senate to take further measures to combat the pandemic when it returns next week. He urged the Republicans to “immediately join the Democrats at the negotiating table”.
Schumer also said the Senate Democrats would try to pass a house-approved law that would give small business owners more flexibility in using money borrowed under a coronavirus aid program.
McConnell outlined a number of conditions for the next corona virus package. He said it was “written in the Senate” and “supported” by the Trump administration, with contributions from Democrats – whose support is needed to even pass the Senate held by the GOP.
He reiterated that he would not support a plan that does not include measures to protect doctors and businesses from certain litigation when the economy is reopened. Democrats have spoken out against comprehensive liability protection.
McConnell also said that Congress “would help those who are still unemployed.” However, he criticized that federal benefit of $ 600 per week expires after July, which in certain cases has resulted in beneficiaries receiving more money than from their previous paychecks.
The GOP Senate chairman, who opposed efforts to make states and communities more comfortable, said he would “take a look” at giving them more resources. He added that “additional support for small businesses and health care may be needed”.
McConnell’s comments and a house schedule released on Friday afternoon suggest that another relief bill is unlikely to take effect for weeks. In a summer calendar sent out by the House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, votes are only listed on June 30th, although the Maryland Democrat has determined that representatives may return to Washington earlier if the Senate legislates Corona virus approved.
“I therefore expect the house to hold a meeting sometime in June, once the Senate is operational, to take further action on this critical issue,” he wrote in a letter to the representatives, noting that he will give them 72 hours in advance before returning to the Capitol.
The United States exceeded 100,000 pandemic deaths this week. More than 40 million people have now made unemployment insurance claims during the crisis, although the number of people receiving benefits for at least two weeks in a row has dropped to around 21 million.
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