Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted at the possibility of the upper chamber producing another coronavirus response bill set to take place later this month. Concerns are mounting as the expiration date of additional unemployment benefits gets closer, leaving people scrambling to make financial ends meet.
McConnell Discusses Republicans’ Main Priorities
During a press conference in Louisville, Kentucky, McConnell explained the Republicans’ main priorities for the next phase of legislation, stating that the “number one” concern in any bill would be liability protections, particularly for business and health care organizations.
On July 6, McConnell said that liability protections are essential so that people who “acted in good faith during this crisis are not confronted with a second epidemic of lawsuits in the wake of the pandemic that we’re already struggling with.”
“Unless you were grossly negligent or intentionally engaging in harmful conduct, you should be protected from liability during this process,” McConnell said, according to CBS News.
McConnell and Trump Push to Open Schools
The Senate Majority Leader and President Trump both agree that kids need to go back to school in the fall. The Trump administration called on states to open their schools and universities, and the president said on July 7 that he is “going to be putting a lot of pressure on open the schools in the fall.”
“So if you’re looking for what I think is a theme of a next package that I’m likely to roll out here in a few weeks, it would focus on liability reform, kids in school, jobs and health care,” McConnell said.
More Stimulus Checks?
During these unprecedented times in the coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed multiple bipartisan relief bills, including the $2 trillion CARES Act that was introduced in the spring. House Democrats have upped the ante and passed a massive $3 trillion relief bill, which encompasses assistance to state and local governments, hazard pay to frontline healthcare workers, controversial student debt forgiveness, and increases Medicare and Medicaid programs. It seems like a very far-reaching bill that the Republican-controlled Senate will shut down.
As of July 31, the $600 increase of weekly unemployment insurance will expire, which has been a contentious point between government assistance-loving Democrats versus accountability-pushing Republicans. The right argues that paying people more to not work creates a huge disincentive to seek new employment, while the left claims that people need the extra money during such trying times.
The Trump administration has made comments that show its support for another possible round of stimulus checks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the administration is “very seriously considering” sending out another series of checks, and Capitol Hill Republicans have also indicated they would support the measure.