- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that a new stimulus bill will be the “first order of business” when the Senate comes back into session on October 19th.
- The $500 billion relief package is said to include new funding for the PPP, funding for schools, a boost to unemployment insurance, and liability protection for businesses.
- Unlike the HEROES Act, the bill is unlikely to include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
Less than three weeks out from the 2020 election, the chances of another comprehensive stimulus bill being signed into law before November 3rd are looking increasingly unlikely. Democrats want a sweeping, multi-billion dollar relief bill to rival that of the CARES Act, the White House has countered with a less pricey bill, and meanwhile, it is unclear if Senate Republicans would pass anything close to what either group is proposing anyway.
Amid all of the chaos and consternation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced in a tweet on Tuesday that the legislative body’s first order of business when it reconvenes on October 19th “will be voting on targeted relief for American workers, including new funding for the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program).” That definitely sounds like a step in the right direction, but what exactly will McConnell’s targeted stimulus bill do?
According to CNBC, McConnell discussed his proposal at an event in his home state of Kentucky this week, claiming that it will include money for schools, another unemployment insurance boost, and liability protections for businesses. Most, if not all, of this would have been addressed in the Democrats’ updated HEROES Act, but with no deal in sight, McConnell’s bill would give cover to vulnerable Republican senators who are being criticized for their lack of action and allow them to push forward with Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation.
The problem with McConnell’s proposal is that it likely won’t pass either. Senate Republicans attempted to advance a similar bill last month, but Democrats blocked it, saying it was inadequate because it failed to provide funding for state and local governments, included less money for unemployment insurance, didn’t say anything about rental assistance or food aid, and didn’t include a second round of $1,200 direct payments.
We don’t know exactly what this bill will look like, but if it’s anything like the last bill, it won’t provide direct payments to struggling Americans. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to excoriate her Republican colleagues on the internet and on TV, all while President Trump is telling Congress to “go big or go home.”
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to continue their talks throughout this week as they try to reach a deal, but it seems like it would take a minor miracle for anything of substance to be accomplished within the next two or three weeks, especially with so little appetite from Republicans for any large stimulus package.