News & Politics

Senate Republicans on Board for Another Stimulus Bill in Late July

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted another huge stimulus bill will move through the Senate in July.

It’s not clear what all will be in the legislation. Democrats passed their own $3 trillion version of a stimulus bill in April almost before the ink was dry on the first stimulus bill. McConnell refused to treat the House bill as anything except a political document (which it was) and it never made it to the floor.

But economists and politicians are coming to the conclusion that another stimulus bill will be necessary to jump-start the economy and put money in people’s pockets.

Reuters:

Without providing details of a bill still being crafted, McConnell said “basic protections” provided by federal unemployment insurance should be included, but indicated they would not be as generous as those in pandemic-related legislation enacted earlier this year.

McConnell is speaking of the $600 per month extra in unemployment benefits that will run out July 31. That benefit was seen by many conservatives as a disincentive to work and Trump wants to offer a back-to-work bonus instead.

CNBC:

The administration supports replacing the enhanced benefits, which are paid on top of traditional state-level benefits, with a cash bonus encouraging people to rejoin the workforce.

“The president is looking at a reform measure that would still provide some kind of bonus for returning to work, but it will not be as large and it will create an incentive to work,” Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said Sunday on CNN.

In addition to the bonus, McConnell definitely wants to add liability waivers for institutions that re-open.

McConnell has said he is putting together legislation that would protect businesses, non-profits, schools and other enterprises from liability lawsuits as they reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Whatever Senate bill emerges, it will be focused on recovery, not relief.

Some other policies that the administration is believed to be considering include a payroll tax cut, a reduction in the capital gains tax rate, an expansion of full, immediate expensing  and a return of the full deduction for business meals and entertainment.

President Trump has also suggested that there could be another round of stimulus checks on the way for Americans.

Democrats want no part of any GOP bill coming out of the Senate. Their own bill — a gift to their special-interest constituencies — is more a political campaign ad than any kind of serious legislation.

But some of it may survive — with a little horse-trading. Senate Republicans could agree to include some kind of unemployment extension and stimulus payments to individuals in return for Democrats agreeing to broad liability waivers to prevent a tsunami of lawsuits from Americans looking to strike it rich if they get sick. Or, instead of stimulus checks, payroll taxes could be eliminated until the end of the year.

The total bill would be far more reasonable than the $3 trillion Democratic boondoggle. It will depend on whether Democrats want to play politics with the recovery or not.