SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns waiting on coronavirus relief will need to keep waiting a little bit longer, with details about the next pandemic relief package expected to become more clear next week when the U.S. Senate returns from recess.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his office has been working with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin — the White House’s point person on coronavirus economic relief — for weeks on a new stimulus bill, The Hill reported.
“I’m predicting we will have one more rescue package, which we’ll begin to debate and discuss next week,” said McConnell during an appearance in Kentucky on Monday.
Two months ago, the Democratically controlled House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) — the fourth pandemic response bill — which includes a second round of individual stimulus checks. The legislation has since stalled in McConnell’s Senate.
McConnell has said a second round of checks “could well” be included in the Senate’s bill, but the income cap may be lowered to $40,000, The Washington Post Reported. Americans who earn around $40,000 a year or less, have “been been hit the hardest,” the Senate leader said.
Caps on the first round of checks from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) ranged from $75,000 and $99,000 a year during the 2018 or 2019 tax year.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney has a list of priorities he will focus on next week when the Senate comes back in session.
“As Congress considers an additional relief package, Sen. Romney’s priorities include further support for severely impacted employers, an extension and repair of the unemployment insurance program, proportionate assistance to state and local governments to help mitigate COVID-related revenue losses, liability protections and a mechanism to rein in the federal debt once the pandemic is over,” said Romney press secretary Arielle Mueller.
Utah’s four Congressmen voted against the relief package in May. Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams said the House passed bill wasn’t a plan, but a “wish list.” Rep. Chris Stewart said the bill was “nothing but a socialist wish list.”
The Senate and House still need to negotiate on a final bill. On Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN that she was willing to cancel the House’s August recess if it meant passing additional pandemic legislation.
“I certainly hope so,” Pelosi said, when asked if House Democrats can find common ground with Senate Republicans before unemployment benefits expire at the end of July.
President Donald Trump has said he supports another bill and more individual stimulus checks.