Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is putting the brakes on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) attempt to rush a phase-four coronavirus relief package through Congress – insisting that they take a wait-and-see approach after a $2.2 trillion rescue package was signed into law last month by President Trump.
Pelosi, who has been holding near-daily calls with reporters, has been aggressively pushing for the follow-up legislaton which would make funds available for transportation, coronavirus treatment (not just testing), more money for states, and benefits for employees such as paid family and sick leave, according to The Hill.
“The coronavirus is moving swiftly, and our communities cannot afford for us to wait. House Democrats will continue to work relentlessly and in a bipartisan way to lift up American families and workers to protect their health, economic security and well-being today and throughout this crisis,” Pelosi insisted on Friday.
McConnell is having none of it – and has made abundantly clear that he wants to wait to see if the first package has had any impact.
“We’re not going to be doing, in the name of an emergency, items unrelated to the emergency,” he told Fox News Radio when asked about the next bill.
Of note, while Congressional leaders have remained in Washington, most lawmakers are out of town until at least April 20.
Congressional Republicans are backing McConnell, however they’ve been privately discussing a fourth bill as well.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) backed up McConnell, telling reporters that while Pelosi “is trying to talk about a fourth bill, I don’t think that is appropriate at this time.”
Some rank-and-file GOP senators say they are already informally discussing a fourth bill as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is expected to skyrocket in the coming weeks. As of Friday evening, there were about 274,000 cases in the United States and more than 7,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. –The Hill
Speaker Pelosi's ambition to create a select committee on the coronavirus crisis isn't about oversight. It's pure politics.
She wants to exploit this crisis in order to fundamentally restructure America and advance her political agenda. pic.twitter.com/hYHXx6F5kS
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 3, 2020
Barbs between Pelosi and McConnell have spilled into the public sphere – with McConnell telling Pelosi to “stand down” in one interview – suggesting she’s trying to “jam” Senate Republicans.
Pelosi, meanwhile, suggested that McConnell’s comments – along with verbal sparring between Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was “chicken feed,” and that “you can’t pay attention to that stuff,” adding “They’re playing to their base.”
The Trump administration has remained on the periphery while Congressional leaders continue to spar – with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin telling reporters that he has spoken with lawmakers – saying “I’ve spoken to the leader, I’ve spoken to the Speaker. I’ve spoken to the president constantly. When the president is ready and thinks we should do the next stage, we’re ready.”
Read the rest of the report here.