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Second stimulus checks for summer look less likely as timeline for relief package gets delayed

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday that the next coronavirus stimulus package will not be decided by the Senate until late July.

Second stimulus checks for summer look less likely as timeline for relief package gets delayed
[Photo: Flickr user Gage Skidmore; Sahand Hoseini/Unsplash]
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday that the next coronavirus stimulus package will not be decided by the Senate until late July, delaying his previous timeline by a full month.

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“We’ll make a final decision on [it] in July, when we get back. I think it is exactly the right time to address this issue,” he told reporters, according to Nexstar. The Senate is on recess from July 3 until July 20. This means that a potential stimulus package will not pass Congress until late July at the earliest, with most Americans not reasonably receiving any aid until September at the earliest.

This is bad news for people who have been depending on the extra $600 unemployment benefit, who will now experience a gap in aid: That program ends the week of July 25-26. Twenty-five million Americans, or nearly one in six working American adults, are expected to be unemployed this summer.

McConnell did not account for the one-month delay. In late May, he had articulated a faster timeline, saying then that, “You could anticipate the decision being made on whether to go forward in about a month. And it will be narrowly crafted, designed to help us where we are a month from now.”

Yesterday, he did not seem to recall that schedule. He said, “I said back in March we would take another look at this probably in July . . . We’ll take a snapshot of where we are, both on health front and economic recovery front, and decide at that point exactly what needs to be done further. What I can tell you is the focus will be kids, jobs, and healthcare.”

He also did not specify whether stimulus checks will be part of the package, nor what form aid might come in, nor to whom. Last Friday, Senate Republicans reportedly spent their two-hour weekly luncheon debating the topic.

The House of Representatives passed a Democrat-backed $3 trillion aid package called the HEROES Act on May 15; it subsequently died in the Republican-led Senate.