Democrats may have gotten concessions on an emergency relief package to refill the Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money late last week as small businesses scrambled to apply for the PPP’s forgivable-interest loans, but it may have come at a cost: there will be no fourth coronavirus relief package anytime soon, despite Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) plans and efforts.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “hit the breaks” on a fourth relief package Wednesday morning, according to The Hill, telling a press conference that the emergency relief bill was enough for now, particularly given that it included further handouts to hospitals and health care facilities.
McConnell added that lawmakers must begin to address the idea that increased spending may not slow the spread of coronavirus or save a swiftly declining economy.
“I think it’s also time to begin to think about the amount of debt we’re adding to our country and the future impact of that. … Until we can begin to open up the economy, we can’t spend enough money to solve the problem,” McConnell said, noting that businesses unable to operate also won’t be paying taxes.
“Let’s weigh this very carefully because the future of our country in terms of the amount of debt that we’re adding up is a matter of genuine concern,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed a $450 billion emergency aid bill, close on the heels of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that passed in late March, before Congress went on hiatus. The CARES Act, though the first named coronavirus relief bill, was actually the third such legislation; the first two cost $8 billion and $104 billion, respectively.
Initially, McConnell wanted a simple, $250 billion cash injection for the PPP, passed by unanimous consent, and with no frills. Democrats objected, demanding that any emergency relief package also include suffering hospitals, and put minority- and female-owned business at the front of the line for further loans. The package ballooned into a half billion dollar monster — a monster McConnell now believes should preclude a fourth bill, anticipated in Congress at the end of this month.
Pelosi, who pushed the add-ons to the PPP bill, is already drafting the fourth coronavirus relief package — an estimated $1.1 trillion bill — and had hoped to bring it to the floor in April, as soon as Congress returns from recess.
“Pelosi said it’s clear the next tranche of relief funds should be an expansion of the massive $2 trillion package the president signed into law last week — more money to aid states, cities and small businesses, expand unemployment benefits and another round of direct cash payments for Americans,” The Hill reported earlier in April.
McConnell now says that’s not happening: “Unless we get our economy up and running again, there’s not any way we can spend enough to continue to prop up the country.”
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Author: Emily Zanotti
Source: Daily Wire: McConnell Halts Fourth Coronavirus Relief Package, Warns About Growing Debt