McConnell hints at more coronavirus aid for states in future rescue package

McConnell hints at more coronavirus aid for states in future rescue package

May 22, 2020

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suggested another coronavirus stimulus package is “not too far off” Thursday, which could include more funding for states as they begin slowly reopening.

During an interview with Fox News, McConnell said Congress “may later do more” to help states, but noted that the CARES Act set aside $150 billion in fiscal aid, much of which hasn’t even been distributed yet.

“We need to let that fully kick in, look at the impact of the states beginning to open up, and then we can make an intelligent decision about the size and the appropriate package to put together for the next rescue package,” McConnell said.

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Some states that have been hardest hit by the domestic outbreak, including New York and New Jersey, have said they will need federal assistance in order to recover. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for example, has said New York state needs about $61 billion in federal support or it faces spending cuts of about 20 percent. That would affect institutions ranging from schools to local governments to hospitals.

Cuomo is calling for lawmakers to include “unrestricted fiscal support for states” in the next relief bill.

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However, McConnell indicated there is no rush to pass additional legislation, adding that lawmakers need to take time to assess what worked and what didn’t from the first go-around.

He did lay out some groundwork for what the legislation would not look like, saying it wouldn’t be a $3 trillion “left-wing wish list,” referring to the HEROES Act, which was passed by the Democratic-controlled House last week. Instead, McConnell said, it would focus on other policies to “get this economy growing again.”

The Senate majority leader also said he and the Trump administration are not in favor of including an extension of the $600 unemployment benefit expansion, which he said has deterred workers from returning to their jobs.

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