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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Thursday that the Senate is “not quite ready to intelligently” lay out the next coronavirus stimulus package, but added “it’s not too far off.”
“The [CARES] Act, which passed a month or so ago on a bipartisan basis, only about half of that money has gone out yet,” McConnell said. “I think there’s a high likelihood we will do another rescue package, but we need to be able to measure the impact of what we’ve already done, what we did right, what we did wrong [and] correct that.
“Let me tell you what it won’t be,” McConnell added. “It won’t be a $3 trillion left-wing wish list as it passed the House.”
The majority leader went on to say that lawmakers “need to work smart here, help the people who are desperately in need, try to save as many jobs as possible and begin to open up the states, which are decisions by the governors that are going on all over America now and get this economy growing again.”
With that in mind, McConnell said any new stimulus package would not include enhanced unemployment benefits.
“The problem was by paying people more not to work than to work, it’s making it difficult to get people back to work. You can understand that,” McConnell told MacCallum. “We do need to continue unemployment insurance, [it’s] extremely important at a time like this.
“But to pay people more not to work than to work doesn’t encourage resuming your job. And that will end in July. And we think that in order to create jobs, we need to incentivize people to go back to work, not encourage them to stay home.”
The senator also reemphasized the need for businesses to receive liability protections in any future stimulus.
“You’re going to have liability protection in there so that people, or the plaintiffs’ lawyers are prevented from stealing, in effect, all of this public money we’re sending down to hospitals and doctors and non-profits as a result of the coronavirus,” McConnell told MacCallum. “And so that’s one of our red lines, that the next bill will need to have liability protection in there just to cover narrowly cover the coronavirus, not anything else.”
McConnell also responded to criticism that such liability provisions would shield nursing homes and care facilities where coronavirus victims died from legal action
“Well, the answer is it wouldn’t protect any nursing home from from a gross negligence or intentional misbehavior [claim],” McConnell said. “So it’s not an absolute protection against any kind of behavior. So those kinds of lawsuits would still lie.”