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- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that considerations on a “fourth and final” economic relief bill will begin “in about a month,” NPR reported.
- Congress has been mired in talks over additional aid. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion spending package on May 15, but McConnell has since refused to move the bill forward.
- The majority leader continued to oppose an extension to bolster unemployment benefits, saying Friday the program “is not designed to encourage you to stay home.”
- Any new spending package needs to focus on propping up jobs and schools and could include relief for small businesses, McConnell added.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dashed hopes for a near-term fiscal relief bill on Friday, saying Republicans will begin weighing a “fourth and final” package “in about a month,” according to NPR.
Congress has been stuck in negotiations over additional aid legislation as joblessness soars and economists project catastrophic coronavirus fallout landing in the second quarter. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion bill on May 15 to expand relief programs and issue more direct payments, but McConnell has since refused to consider the measure.
Any new bill needs to focus on jobs and schools and may include additional financial aid for small businesses, McConnell said at an event in Kentucky. The senator remains against extending a $600 per week expansion of unemployment benefits, a piece of the House bill he previously deemed a “crazy policy.”
“Unemployment insurance is extremely important, but it is not designed to encourage you to stay home; it is designed to get you through a trough until you can get back to work,” McConnell said.
Congress needs more time to weigh where aid should be delivered, he added. March’s $2 trillion CARES Act trounced the sizes of past relief bills, and both Senate Republicans and the White House have called on legislators to wait for the dust to settle and see how the last relief package performed.
“I think there is a strong likelihood we will need another bill, but we just have $3 trillion we’re pumping into the economy,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a May 21 videoconference with The Hill. “We’re going to step back for a few weeks and think very clearly how we need to spend more money.”
Senate Democrats have fired back at McConnell’s stance, saying the latest data detailing labor-market turmoil calls for immediate action. Considering Republicans’ slow pace in considering new aid, “you’d never know that the nation was in the midst of a crisis,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter to Senate Democrats, according to NPR.
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