The United States Senate is going on recess, and a second stimulus check bill will not be considered until at least early June. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that the Senate would not consider a second coronavirus relief package before taking a week off, according to a report by Vox. However, the urgency of government spending in this crisis may cause a rift in the Republican party.
McConnell and other Republican leaders have been hesitant to act fast on another stimulus check and other financial relief measures, even as the U.S. Congress rushed to pass the HEROES Act earlier this month. On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told CNN he doesn't "see the need right now" when it comes to more aid for the American people. "We'll discuss a way forward in the next couple weeks," he added.
With unemployment rates reaching a high of 38 million people and coronavirus cases still on the rise, many were put off by this slow-moving approach. Republicans, including McCarthy and McConnell, have both raised concerns about the national debt, saying that more funding could do more harm than good. However, economists have cast doubt on this claim, with David Platz of Business Insider speculating that it may be a political posturing tactic.
Republicans have also argued that it is too soon to pass another financial relief bill before seeing how the first one impacts the nation. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said: "before we rush out and do another spending bill, we should actually let some of this stuff go to work."
When it comes to stimulus checks, in particular, that logic does not hold up for some people. The first stimulus check issued between mid-April and now was worth up to $1,200, and for many people, it went straight to overdue bills, rent or groceries. With this crisis expected to go on for months, many are calling on the U.S. government to issue quarterly or even monthly stimulus checks to prevent a housing crisis.
Some Republicans do favor another stimulus bill, including Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. Their suggestions differ significantly from the HEROES Act already on the table, however, and many critics say it is not the time to negotiate over the details. Hawley proposed a payroll tax cut with the hope that employers will keep their workers paid throughout the pandemic, though that would do little for the millions who have already been laid off.
The timeline on another stimulus bill remains unclear, though the Senate will certainly be on break until at least early June. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri told CNN that "optimistically," he hopes to see another stimulus package passed in early July.