New Stimulus Could Come in 'Next Month or So,' McConnell Says As Pressure Mounts to Restart Economy

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the first time on Tuesday laid out a rough timeline for when he foresees another relief package coming to fruition, predicting Congress will be able to negotiate and pass legislation "in the next month or so."

However, the Kentucky Republican, who has previously refrained from offering a specific timetable, reiterated the next stimulus will not resemble the "$3 trillion, left-wing wish-list" that the Democratic-led House passed earlier this month. "That ain't gonna happen," McConnell said.

Although the Senate leader was sparse with the details when speaking to reporters at a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, his public openness to more federal aid comes amid pressure from both sides of the aisle to further alleviate the stress on states' economies.

McConnell has said in recent weeks that he is eyeing another stimulus worth around $1 trillion, which is unlikely to include another round of individual checks and other costly initiatives included in House Democrats' massive package. McConnell said there is "great reluctance among Republicans" in Congress to borrow money that future generations would be forced to back in order "to solve pre-existing problems" within state governments prior to the pandemic.

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"The only way to rescue this economy is to get back to normal. We now have a debt the size of our economy. That hasn't happened since WWII," McConnell said during a press event in his home state on Tuesday. "We can't keep doing this. The way to get back to normal is to get back to normal."

Senate Republicans have become increasingly open to another relief bill, which they expect to occur in late June or early July. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to whack their GOP colleagues for dragging their feet on the pandemic response by focusing first on confirming President Donald Trump's executive and judicial nominees. Republicans have said they want to "pause" and see where more aid is needed.

McConnell Stimulus
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky, speaks during a news conference following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon in Washington, D.C., on May 19, 2020. Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty

"The United States Senate's almost sole focus has been on packing the judiciary of America with people of an ideological bend that the present majority of the U.S. Senate and the president feel are appropriate," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday. "We're going to proceed on must-pass legislation, legislation we think ought to be adopted. If somebody calls them message bills, so be it."

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The GOP-controlled Senate left town last week for a weeklong Memorial Day recess without addressing any coronavirus-related measures, drawing scorn from two Republicans who face tough re-election bids.

"It's unfathomable that the Senate is set to go on recess without considering any additional #COVID19 assistance for the American people," Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) wrote in a series of tweets.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement that Congress "must not wait. We should act now."

Among the details McConnell offered Tuesday was his repeated push for increased liability protections for companies that reopen amid the health crisis. He also echoed the stance among Republicans that the $600 per week boost to unemployment insurance provided by the federal government had to be reduced over the fear it has become an incentive not to work.

"I'm still in favor of unemployment insurance, everyone is. And we want to extend that if we need to," McConnell said. "What I thought was a mistake was the bonus we added that small businesses all over the country are saying make it more lucrative to not work than to work."

New Stimulus Could Come in 'Next Month or So,' McConnell Says As Pressure Mounts to Restart Economy | U.S.