• Meetings on the next round of stimulus reportedly had been scheduled this week but were canceled, likely because of the widespread civil unrest across the country
  • House Democrats adopted a more than $3 trillion stimulus plan last month but no further action has been taken
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he's in no hurry to pass another round of stimulus despite what is likely to be a 20% unemployment rate for May

The Trump administration reportedly is considering as much as $1 trillion for the next round of economic stimulus, far short of the more than $3 trillion package proposed by House Democrats.

Bloomberg News quoted sources as saying meetings had been scheduled this week but were canceled, presumably because of the turmoil roiling the country in the wake of the death of a Minneapolis man at the hands of a white police officer.

More than 42 million initial unemployment claims have been filed since the economy was forced to shut down in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, killing at least 107,400 Americans as of early afternoon Thursday.

Senate Republicans have been in no hurry to adopt the next round of stimulus. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called for a pause in stimulus spending, which has swelled the federal budget deficit. Bloomberg said McConnell has told the White House less than $1 trillion in the next round of stimulus spending is likely.

No action is was planned before Congress comes back from its two-week July Fourth recess.

Democrats last month adopted a more than $3 trillion measure, more than doubling the amount approved so far to fight the economic damage caused by the pandemic.

With the May unemployment rate expected to be in the 20% range when it is released Friday, GOP senators may be rethinking their plan to eliminate the $600 weekly federal enhancement of unemployment benefits, which are scheduled to end in July.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday more than 10.7 million people in 35 states were receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits, which allow people who are not normally eligible for benefits, and 209,692 in 28 states were receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits, which are available to those who already have exhausted regular benefits.

Experts have predicted double-digit unemployment could last through next year.

“I don’t think we can ignore the fact that this civil unrest is happening against a backdrop of 20-plus percent unemployment,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said earlier this week.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has proposed an incentive to encourage people to get off the unemployment rolls: a temporary $450 weekly bonus added to regular wages.

Unemployment expert Andrew Stettner of the Century Foundation said Congress needs to act to extend benefits. He noted rehiring is modest at best as states reopen their economies.

“Already, 200,000 workers are relying on extended benefits and many of these workers -- and millions more -- will run out of benefits by Dec. 31. Congress must ensure this does not happen,” Stettner said in an email to IBTimes.