Second stimulus check: McConnell says Senate will consider relief bill in July

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"I think it's exactly the right time (July)... to address this issue."

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday the Senate will consider a second stimulus package in July and blamed Democrats for practicing “political theater.”

“As you’ve heard suggested, I said back in March we would take another look at this… probably in July… take a snapshot of where we are, both on the healthy front and the economic recovery front, and decide at that point what needs to be done further,” McConnell said on Tuesday.

Congress and the Senate will recess from July 3 to July 20. It’s unlikely the Senate will consider any additional relief packages before July 20.

“The focus will be kids, jobs, and healthcare… Any bill that passes the Senate will have liability protections in it,” McConnell said. “This is liability protections for everyone… everybody who interacted with this pandemic. Unless you’re grossly negligent or intentionally engaged in misconduct, we’re going to see to it that you don’t get sued on top of everything else you’ve had to deal with in trying to get through this,” McConnell said. “That’s a prediction I can make about a bill that we’ll make a final decision on in July when we get back. I think it’s exactly the right time (July)… to address this issue.”

In a statement on Tuesday, McConnell accused Democrats of “political theater.”

“This political theater is the opposite of the serious Senate approach that built the CARES Act,” McConnell said in a statement on Tuesday. “Any further recovery efforts should focus intently on three things: Kids, jobs, and healthcare. Partisan theater and politicized wish-lists are not what our country needs,” McConnell added.

Republican congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois said he is not optimistic anything will happen related to the stimulus bill.

“I’m not that optimistic that anything will happen in Washington when it comes to another COVID-related stimulus bill,” said Republican congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois. “Speaker Pelosi decided on her own to put a $3 trillion wish list together and that allowed everyone in Washington to retreat to their partisan corners.”

Davis is referencing the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion bill that includes $275 billion for testing and healthcare worker hazard pay and a trillion dollars for state and local governments. 

Passed by House Democratic in May, the HEROES Act would offer another round of $1,200 checks to American adults and children. It also expands the number of people who are eligible to receive government aid by including college students and older teenagers. The payments would be capped at $6,000 per household.

This would follow March’s stimulus package that included one-time payments of up to $1,200 for eligible Americans.

Rep. Davis believes the route Democrats took with loading $3 trillion into the HEROES Act makes it “more difficult to put any bipartisan legislation together in the future.”

As you might imagine, Davis and Marshall’s colleagues on the other side of the aisle see things differently.

“We’re waiting for Mitch McConnell over on the Senate side to get off his rear end and do something,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts. “Up to this point, he’s done nothing.”

“We need to do something,” McGovern added.

Rep David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, agreed with McGovern is saying that McConnell needs to take action — even if it’s creating his own GOP relief package and trying to push it through.

“What he can’t do is nothing,” said Cicilline. “There are too many people in this country hurting, there are too many people that have been impacted by COVID-19 and they expect Congress to provide additional relief.”

Republican senators who serve alongside McConnell seem confident relief is on the way.

“It is going to happen, it’s just not going to happen yet,” Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe recently told Nexstar Media Group Washington D.C. correspondent Anna Wiernicki.

The Senator says the idea of a second stimulus check filled two-hours of discussion at last week’s Senate Republican luncheon. He added lawmakers are supportive but are still working on the details.

“What you don’t want to do is have a reward given to people who don’t want to work,” Inhofe added.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn says a payroll tax holiday is also being considered.

“That is a little challenging, because the payroll tax is how we pay for Medicare and Social Security — but that would be a way to get money directly in the hands of people who need the cash,” said Cornyn.

Roughly one week ago, President Trump confidently said during an interview his administration would push another stimulus package.

The president offered few details, however, saying, “It will be very good. It’ll be very generous.”

When asked how much the payment might be, Trump said, “You’ll find out about it. You’ll find out.”

Trump added that he thought the relief funds would receive bipartisan support and could be announced “over the next couple of weeks.”

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