After initially adopting a wait-and-see attitude regarding the passage of another stimulus package, Republicans are suddenly expressing a sense of urgency with just 11 days left in July to act between the Fourth of July holiday and the August recess. The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, which would have guaranteed another one-time payment of $1,200 to citizens and another $1,200 for dependents, but Republicans quickly panned the bill as "dead on arrival."
"We need to get off our a— and get this done," Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday during an interview on Fox News about a new stimulus package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also said on Tuesday the Senate will consider a second stimulus package in July, blaming 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 in an address Tuesday. He added that the focus of any new bill would be "kids, jobs and healthcare" as well as liability protections for "everybody who interacted with this pandemic." He continued, "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 … to address this issue."
Last month, McConnell said he didn't feel "urgency" to pass another stimulus bill, calling for a "pause" on spending due to his concerns with mounting debt. Just days later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had criticized McConnell for not moving more quickly on another coronavirus stimulus package, saying during a press conference, "You want a pause? Tell that to the virus."
Still in question is what another stimulus bill would contain, as the HEROES Act passed by the Democratic-led House was called a "nonstarter" in the Senate with its provision for more stimulus checks as well as an extension for the expanded unemployment program through the end of January. "This will not be in the next bill," McConnell said last month of the expanded unemployment program on a call with House Republicans, according to the Wall Street Journal. On Fox News earlier that month, he said that "in order to create jobs, we need to incentivize people to go back to work, not encourage them to stay home."