House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her Democrat colleagues are pushing for immediate action on a fourth massive coronavirus spending bill, with some already looking past that toward even more fiscal stimulus in the coming months.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just poured cold water on Pelosi’s grand plans. McConnell expressed his intent to wait a little longer before tackling another big spending package, and noted that whatever legislation was worked out would be “narrowly crafted” and the “final” effort, CNBC reported.
“Fourth and final” relief bill
Earlier in May, House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion spending bill that Senate Republicans have dismissed as a progressive “wish list” with no chance of passing the upper chamber of Congress.
Meanwhile, McConnell and other Republicans have stated their intentions to wait and observe the full impact of the previous relief bills in conjunction with the phased lifting of lockdown restrictions and reopening of businesses nationwide before taking further action.
“We’re taking a careful look at a fourth and final bill,” McConnell explained from his Kentucky home. “You could anticipate the decision being made on whether to go forward in about a month.”
“And it will be narrowly crafted, designed to help us where we are a month from now, not where we were three months ago,” the Senate leader added.
Of course, that delay isn’t sitting well with Speaker Pelosi, as she is champing at the bit to disburse trillions more in taxpayer funds to a variety of recipients and for various reasons, such as to supplement budget shortfalls for state and local governments as well as to send out another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to the American people.
“We need a pause? Tell that to the virus,” Pelosi said to reporters on Thursday in reference to McConnell’s intention to wait for the time being. “Is the virus taking a pause? Is hunger in America taking a pause?”
Similarly, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to his colleagues on Friday that demanded action on a new spending bill starting next week and urged his Republican counterparts to “join Democrats at the negotiating table, immediately.”
Pelosi’s demands are unlikely to sway McConnell, however. He made it clear that while he would seek input from Democrats on the next relief package, it would be largely written by Senate Republicans in conjunction with President Donald Trump’s White House.
McConnell’s priority is liability protection for businesses and doctors against frivolous lawsuits related to the coronavirus and reopening, something Pelosi and the Democrats have firmly opposed. And while McConnell said he’d “take a look” at providing funds for states and municipalities in the coming bill, his focus would be more centered on providing assistance to small businesses and health care facilities and providers.
There will likely be another coronavirus relief/stimulus bill coming out of Congress, but as per McConnell, it won’t be coming anytime soon.