Mitch McConnel says there is a possibility of Congress passing another coronavirus stimulus bill to assuage the effects on the economy.
The Coronavirus is here, and it is here to stay. About two weeks ago, the House Democrats approved a $3 trillion Coronavirus relief package which received an unprecedented Senate Republican opposition who pledged to block it, even as the major parties continue to struggle to find a way forward on the response to the pandemic. However, Congress now says that it will ‘probably’ have to pass more legislation to assuage the damage brought about by the virus.
The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said that a measure towards lifting the U.S. economy would have a narrower scope compared to the proposed $3 trillion packages approved by the Democrats. McConnell went on to say that the States’ progress in restarting their economies in the weeks ahead will shape the direction that the Congress will eventually take.
“We need to make sure we have unemployment insurance properly funded for as long as we need,” “So, in the next few weeks, we’ll determine whether there is yet another bill,” he told reporters Tuesday in his home state.
So far, responding to the virus attack, the Congress has had to pass four bills with the most recent one being a measure to approve a plan to replenish a small business aid program, passed about two months ago.
The effects of the shutdowns in the country induced by the virus continue to tear through the U.S. labor market. As of April, the number reached an all-time high at 20.5 million from the nonfarm payroll. This high figure sent the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 14.7%.
Both these numbers have cracked the post-World War II records and is now revealing the governments’ weak spots and the profound damage caused to our economy. What we are seeing is a “pretty dismal picture, but April may be it for job losses going forward with the country starting to reopen,” said Chris Rupkey, a chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank. “If there is a silver lining in today’s dismal jobs report, it is in the realization that the economy cannot possibly get any worse than it is right now.”
In the last few weeks, the House Democrats have been pushing for more legislation, and the GOP has started to cozy up to the idea of another round of stimulus checks. The president and his advisors have also heralded their support for another rescue bill.
The president briefly mentioned a possibility for a second direct wave of payments to individuals. McConnell further said that he would insist on a push for liability protections for the medics and businesses even as the country prepares to reopen.
He also added that he would want additional relief for the state and the local governments to be tailored only to increase the expenses and the revenue lost as a result of the outbreak. In their proposal, the Democrats included nearly $1 trillion for the cash-strapped states and the local municipalities.
Right now, it is unclear how long it would take for the funding of the federal unemployment insurance benefits or the level at which McConnell would want to fund it. McConnell in the previous week had mentioned that the next congressional bill would not extend the $600 per week sum added to what the recipients normally from the states.
In the coming week, the House aims at passing a limited bill which allows small businesses more flexibility in their spending of the government aid money while getting loans forgiven.
In most parts of the country, businesses are starting to reopen after the lockdowns, and the Republicans have widely supported the reopening of the economy despite the United States COVID-19 cases being more than 1.66 million and the deaths from the virus is more than 98,000 people.
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