A new coronavirus stimulus bill may have to wait until 2021, and even then it may not include a second $1,200 check nor federal aid to keep police officers, health care workers and teachers on state and municipal payrolls.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that the Senate likely would take up legislation at the beginning of next year, but nowhere near the package of around $2 trillion that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was negotiating with the White House.
“We probably need to do another package,” McConnell, R-Ky., told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “I think that will be something we’ll need to do right at the beginning of the year, targeted particularly at small businesses that are struggling and hospitals that are now dealing with a second wave of the coronavirus. And of course, the challenges for education, both K-12 and colleges.”
President Donald Trump said he didn’t want to wait another two months.
“We will have a tremendous stimulus package immediately after the election,” he told reporters Thursday at the White House.
While the White House has endorsed another $1,200 stimulus check, neither Trump nor McConnell have been willing to accede to House Democratic demands for hundreds of billions of dollars in federal aid to help cash-strapped states and localities avoid layoffs of public employees.
“They risk their lives to save lives, and now many of them will lose their jobs,” Pelosi said Thursday on MSNBC.
That helped scuttle pre-election negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and will prevent passage of any stimulus bill as long as Democrats control the House, which they are favored to continue doing for the next two years.
“The president does not want to recognize that state and local government is playing a very big role in ministering to the needs of those who are sick as well as the revenue they have lost because of the coronavirus,” Pelosi said.
As for the chances of passing a stimulus bill when Congress returns for a lame duck session after Election Day, Pelosi said that’s dependent on Senate Republicans willing to make a deal.
McConnell refused to take up either of the House Democratic bills passed in May and September, and instead offered a slimmed-down measure that did not include stimulus checks nor state and local aid but protect businesses against lawsuits if their customers or employers were infected by the coronavirus and did provide additional taxpayer subsidies for religious and other private schools. Neither had enough support to reach the Senate floor for debate.
“It depends on how much of a rehabilitation tour the Republicans want to take,” Pelosi said. “Certainly, we’ll have something at the start of the new presidency, but we don’t want to have to wait that long, because people have needs.”
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