Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted that direct payments to Americans may be included in the next coronavirus stimulus package, The Hill reports.
The Republican lawmaker told reporters in his home state of Kentucky that direct payments similar to the ones issued in March “could well” be included in the fifth coronavirus-related legislation.
"I think the people that have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry. .... That could well be a part of it," McConnell said.
Under the CARES Act, lawmakers provided a one-time payment of $1,200 to people earning up to $75,000 per year.
McConnell’s comments reveal that Republicans could be looking into a lower ceiling when considering whether to issue a second round of payments.
House Democrats have included another round of $1,200 checks in its nearly $3 trillion Heroes Act. But Senate Republicans are not fans of their proposal.
President Donald Trump said he would back another round of stimulus checks. Members of the Trump administration have also signaled support for more direct payments.
But Republicans have been hesitant to commit to funding another round of stimulus checks. Some say they don’t help stimulate the economy. Others have expressed concerns over the country’s growing debt.
McConnell said Monday that he thinks another relief bill is needed and he plans to introduce legislation in a few weeks. GOP Senators are scheduled to return to Capitol Hill on July 20.
"I'll be unveiling something, which will be a starting place, in a few weeks, and we'll then be dealing with the administration and the Democrats and all the rest. ... I think we will do something again. I think the country needs one last boost," he said.
McConnell said Republicans are looking at a shield from lawsuits for businesses, hospitals and schools that would be retroactive back to December 2019 and run through 2024.
"If you're looking for what I think the theme of what a next package that I'm likely to roll out here in a few weeks would focus on: liability reform, kids in school, jobs and health care, that's where the focus, it seems to me, ought to be," McConnell said.
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