Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has promised his fellow House Republicans that there will be no additional unemployment benefits in the U.S.
McConnell had been quoted saying, “I think I can speak for our conference by saying we’re not ruling that out, but we think we ought to take a pause here, do a good job of evaluating what we’ve already done,” in response to Nancy Pelosi’s Heroes Act proposal. The Heroes Act is one of many relief plan proposals from House Democrats.
Another proposal from Sens. Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, along with Ed Markey, is pushing a rebate payment program that would deliver $2,000 to U.S. residents, including children, until the COVID-19 pandemic has ended and after, much like Canada’s relief program. Now it appears that the Republican Leader has made up his mind completely, saying that the House Democrats’ $3 trillion package passed last week, “will not be in the next bill.”
McConnell remains unmoved
Congress continues to debate the government’s next move as the American economy suffers greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic. McConnell’s belief remains unshaken that banning further unemployment aid is the right thing to do for the economy.
McConnell told the House GOP minority in an afternoon phone call that he is comfortable waiting to see how the original nearly $3 trillion in coronavirus spending relief aid plays out before moving forward on the next relief legislation. And he told them the ultimate end-product will not resemble anything the Democrats are proposing.
Fervently, the Senate Majority Leader vowed that the $600 weekly boost in unemployment benefits will not continue.
Fear of Democratic backlash
While McConnell conceded more aid may be necessary in the coming weeks, he also repeated his insistence that liability reform be included in the next round of legislation to minimize lawsuits as many House Democrats are upset with his ruling.
McConnell warned against trial lawyers, who, like “vultures,” are ready to pounce and file lawsuits in retaliation to his economic stance. He added that the Republicans are “going to have to clean up the Democrats’ crazy policy that is paying people more to remain unemployed than they would earn if they went back to work.”
Democrats respond accordingly
With an unemployment rate of 14.7 percent in the month of April, Democrats are scrutinizing the Senate leader for his lack of empathy for the unemployed and suffering American people.
The Democratic party has consistently been belittled by McConnell as he has publicly praised House Republicans for holding firm against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s legislation and mocked her proxy voting plan.
As the total unemployment number has reached over 23 million, McConnell has considered the Democrats’ relief strategies as, “totally unserious effort” to address the coronavirus pandemic. He said Democrats had put out a “seasonal catalog of left-wing oddities and called it a coronavirus relief bill.”
“I don’t think at this time, with the coronavirus, that there’s any interest in having any less protection with our workers,” said Nancy Pelosi in regards to McConnell’s argument. “We don’t need any prescription from anybody about mythology or just excuses not to do the job. It’s really sad — it’s disgraceful, because there is such tremendous need.”
Democrats continue to fight for more unemployment aid. Economist Mark Zandi rallied House Democrats to extend the beefed-up unemployment insurance and move “quickly” to send more aid to states and cities. Zandi added that governments are “teetering on the financial edge,” and predicted many more jobs could be lost during this pandemic without quicker action.