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McConnell: No need yet for fifth coronavirus relief bill

The Hill logo The Hill 5/11/2020 Jordain Carney
Mitch McConnell wearing a suit and tie: McConnell: No need yet for fifth coronavirus relief bill © Greg Nash McConnell: No need yet for fifth coronavirus relief bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that he's in "constant communication" with the White House about the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic but that there isn't yet a need for Congress to pass additional legislation.

"We're basically assessing what we've done already. I'm in constant communication with the White House and if we decide to go forward we'll go forward together," McConnell told reporters.

"I don't think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately. That time could develop, but I don't think it has yet," McConnell added.

McConnell's comments follow him calling for a "pause" before any additional coronavirus stimulus legislation so that lawmakers can figure out what has, and what hasn't, worked from the nearly $3 trillion already appropriated by Congress.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow indicated to reporters at the White House late last week that formal talks were likely paused until early June.

"As we move into the reopening phase this month, maybe spillover to June, let's have a look at it before we decide who, what, where, when," he said.

Kudlow on Sunday told ABC News's "This Week" that there are "informal" talks happening between Capitol Hill and the administration.

"I think many people would like to just pause for a moment and take a look at the economic impact of this massive assistance program which is the greatest in the United States history," he added.

The GOP leader on Monday declined to answer additional questions on a timeline for the next coronavirus bill, which would be the fifth coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress in the past two months. He was asked specifically if there was need to act before the weeklong Memorial Day recess scheduled to start a week from Friday, or if he expected Congress would act in the next month.

Even as Republicans are taking a wait-and-see approach, House Democrats say they could bring members back to vote on the next coronavirus package as soon as Friday.

The bill, which has not yet been formally introduced, is expected to include hundreds of billions more in state and local funds, funding for the U.S. Postal Service and another round of direct assistance to Americans.

A scheduling update from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Monday said that members would be given a 72-hour heads-up before they had to be back in the Capitol.

"Members are further advised that pending introduction of legislation, it is possible that the House may meet this week, no earlier than Friday, May 15, 2020," the notice added.

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