McConnell: ‘High likelihood’ that Congress will need to pass fifth coronavirus bill
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Rep. Pete King to buck party, vote for Democrats’ coronavirus relief bill In win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill The Hill’s Campaign Report: Democrat concedes in California House race MORE (R-Ky.) said Thursday that Congress would likely need to pass a fifth coronavirus relief bill, but declined to give a timeline for additional legislation.
McConnell, during a Fox News interview, said he did “anticipate” that Congress will need to “act again at some point” but that Republicans first wanted to review the roughly $2.8 trillion already appropriated by Congress.
“I’m certainly not ruling out another fiscal package. And I would say the chairman of the Fed and I and the administration are not necessarily in different places,” McConnell said, referring to comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who said more spending could be “costly but worth it.”
McConnell hadn’t ruled out additional legislation but he told reporters earlier this week that he did not yet believe that it was needed.
“I don’t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately. That time could develop, but I don’t think it has yet,” McConnell added.
The comments drew fierce backlash from Democrats.
The House is also poised to pass a fifth coronavirus bill as soon as Friday. The legislation, which would cost roughly $3 trillion, includes another round of stimulus checks, more help for state and local governments and additional food assistance, among other provisions.
Republicans, however, have warned that they will not be pressured to pass a bill just because the House does.
They’ve declared the bill “dead on arrival” in the Senate. McConnell on Thursday night called it a “liberal wishlist” a “parade of absurdities” and “hardly salvageable.”
McConnell declined on Thursday night to say when the Senate would act. Senators in both parties have said they think it’s unlikely the Senate takes up a fifth coronavirus relief bill before the chamber leaves for a Memorial Day recess next week.
“The president and Senate Republicans are going to be in the same place. We will let you know when we think the time is ripe to begin to move again. I think there’s a high likelihood that we’ll do another bill,” he said.
When pressed if that would be “soon,” he noted that conversations were ongoing and that he had spoken with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Hillicon Valley: Experts raise security concerns about online voting | Musk finds supporter in Trump | Officials warn that Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 research groups Trump administration to buy 1 million barrels of oil for national stockpile MORE on Wednesday.
“I think we all believe that another bill probably is going to be necessary. But I’m not prepared today to put a precise date on when that will be,” he said.