Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) on Tuesday signaled his opposition to passing another coronavirus economic relief bill before Congress returns from recess.
“You’ve seen the talk from both sides about acting, but my goal from the beginning of this, given the extraordinary numbers that we’re racking up to the national debt, is that we need to be as cautious as we can be,” McConnell said in an interview with Politico. “We need to see how things are working, see what needs to be corrected, and I do think that the next time we pass a coronavirus rescue bill we need to have everyone here and everyone engaged.”
McConnell’s comments came after senators passed by unanimous consent a $484 billion relief package providing additional funds for small business loans, hospitals, and other programs. That bill follows the massive $2.2 trillion relief package passed earlier in April to keep various sectors of the economy afloat.
“My view is: We just added another $500 billion to the national debt. Let’s see how things are working, McConnell continued. “We need to weigh our obligations vs. [states and cities], since they have taxing authorities as well, and how to divide up the responsibility. So we’re not going to move on another bill related to this subject until we all get back here.”
Additionally, Senators Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Rand Paul (R., Ky.) both made clear their objection to passing further legislation before Congress returns to session.
“We need to do the job we were elected to do. . . . And yet Congress is in recess,” Lee said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “This . . . is simply unacceptable. If COVID-19 requires Congress to act then it requires Congress to convene.”