House Democrats want to move quickly on a fourth coronavirus relief package, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said yesterday that talk of another bill is “premature.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said earlier in the week she wants to see more protections for frontline health workers and is open to substantial investments in infrastructure to shore up the economy and create jobs. Senate Republicans are wary of Democrats’ loading up the next recovery bill with progressive wish-list items, like rolling back the limits on state and local tax deductions enacted as part of the Republicans’ 2017 tax law.
“She needs to stand down on the notion that we’re going to go along with taking advantage of the crisis to do things that are unrelated to the crisis,” McConnell said of Pelosi’s plan for additional relief.
While President Trump appears on board with an ambitious infrastructure package, McConnell said he’s concerned about how Congress would pay for another multi-trillion-dollar bill. “We do have to be mindful of how to pay for it,” McConnell told the Washington Post. “We’d all love to do it, but there is the reality of how you pay for it. We just passed a $2 trillion bill and it would take a lot of convincing to convince me that we should do transportation in a way that’s not credibly paid for after what we just passed last week.”
Pelosi has defended the need for additional, swift action that focuses on helping the nation recover after the crisis has abated.
“Our first bills were about addressing the emergency,” Pelosi said earlier this week. “The third bill was about mitigation. The fourth bill would be about recovery. Emergency, mitigation, recovery. I think our country is united in not only wanting to address our immediate needs – emergency, mitigation and the assault on our lives and livelihoods – but also, how we recover in a very positive way.”
Even if House Democrats attempt to move more swiftly on the next relief bill, the timeline is still a bit unclear. Lawmakers have recessed until April 20 but President Trump recently extended national social distancing guidelines until April 30, which could encourage Congress to remain in recess until at least May.