Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Congress should await the impact of a new $2.2 trillion economic relief package before drafting another spending bill to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
“I think first, we need to see what the effect of the current bill is,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Tuesday on the Hugh Hewitt radio program.
McConnell told Hewitt he wasn’t enthusiastic about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plans to draft another spending measure. Pelosi told reporters yesterday she’s working on another bill because the three passed so far do not fully address the needs of workers and families.
Congress has passed three coronavirus relief bills, including the $2.2 trillion measure President Trump signed last week.
Pelosi, a California Democrat, said she is beginning to draft a fourth bill that would expand paid family leave, food stamps, and require new safety standards for workers. Democrats also plan to include a provision to bail out financially struggling union pensions.
“I think you have to genuinely be aware of the speaker in a situation like this,” McConnell said. “I’m reminded of what Rahm Emanuel said during the financial crisis — never let a crisis go to waste. What that meant was seize in the crisis to try to achieve unrelated policy items that you have not been able to get under other circumstances. So I would think any kind of bill coming out of the House I would look at like Reagan suggested we look at the Russians — trust, but verify.”
McConnell said Congress must “wait a few weeks to see how things are working out” before discussing a fourth relief package.
McConnell warned he would not take up a bill that includes Democratic agenda items he deems unrelated to the coronavirus crisis.
“I’m not going to allow this to be an opportunity for the Democrats to achieve unrelated policy items that they would not otherwise be able to pass,” McConnell said.
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