Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is ready to talk.
The Republican lawmaker gave a glimpse Tuesday into his thinking on a possible next round of coronavirus legislation, hinting that another stimulus bill could get going within “the next month or so,” the Washington Examiner reported.
McConnell: More stimulus coming
Republicans swiftly shot down Pelosi’s $3 trillion opening legislative salvo, which passed the House earlier this month, calling it a progressive “wish list” that has no chance of becoming law, as the New York Post reported.
Still, McConnell has said that another bill will probably be necessary eventually, and he acknowledged again Tuesday that Congress will “possibly” pass another bill to help Americans suffering through an economic meltdown, with certain caveats, according to The Hill.
The Republican leader praised as a model the $2 trillion CARES Act, which passed in March with bipartisan support, and he said that the next bill needs to be more limited in scope than Pelosi’s partisan $3 trillion bill.
McConnell also said that any prospective legislation “won’t pass” without liability protections to shield businesses from an “avalanche” of coronavirus-related lawsuits, a sticking point for McConnell that was not included in Pelosi’s bill.
“Now, we’re not talking about rewriting every tort law in every state in America but narrowly crafted liability reform related to this coronavirus pandemic that begins at a certain time and ends at a certain time can reassure these folks that they’re not going to be hit with an avalanche of lawsuits in the wake of this,” McConnell said, according to the Washington Examiner.
Multiple sticking points remain
Pelosi’s bill calls for nearly $1 trillion to help states and local governments struggling to keep their budgets funded, various forms of financial assistance for companies and workers, and a bevy of far-left priorities, including, as The Hill reported, stimulus checks for illegal immigrants. Democrats have tried to portray their efforts as emblematic of a laser focus on the welfare of American families, and they have shown little appetite for the liability protections sought by McConnell.
The question of state and local funding has been a particularly important issue for Democrats, who have routinely assailed McConnell’s response to the coronavirus as irresponsibly stingy, but Republicans are wary of sending massive amounts of federal aid to a number of financially troubled blue states, according to The New York Times.
Democrats have said that there is no time to wait on the next bill, citing the urgent financial needs of suffering Americans, but Republicans have argued that it is better to wait for trillions of dollars in previous stimulus to have an effect before green-lighting even more spending, according to ABC News.
However, with millions of Americans out of work — even as many states lift lockdowns — and lingering uncertainty over the prospects for economic recovery, it looks like Republicans are feeling the pressure to pass one last bill, just not on Pelosi’s terms.
“We may need, as I said, one more plug here at the federal level to help us get through this period, but it will be very carefully crafted. It won’t be [a] $3 trillion left-wing wish list,” McConnell said, according to The Hill. “We’re not going to be doing a $3 trillion bill. That won’t happen. That isn’t going to happen.”