• The U.S. spent $1 trillion more last year than it took in, swelling the U.S. debt, which stood at nearly $23.7 trillion Thursday
  • McConnell said the Senate would not deal with any infrastructure bill coming out of the House ahead of negotiations
  • President Trump called for a $2 trillion infrastructure bill earlier this week

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s in no hurry to pass another coronavirus emergency relief bill, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should stop trying to jump-start talks. He said any measure originating in the House would be dead-on-arrival in the Senate.

Pelosi has called for a fourth emergency measure to relieve pressure on taxpayers and businesses as the virus keeps nonessential businesses shuttered, robbing millions of Americans of jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday more than 6.6 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims last week, bringing the two-week total to 10 million. During the height of the Great Depression, 15 million Americans were out of work. Syndicated columnist Robert Samuelson said he has concluded a depression may already is underway.

Congress passed a $2.2 trillion relief package last week, the third emergency bill to cross President Trump’s desk since the coronavirus pandemic began, to mitigate the economic impact of widespread stay-at-home orders that virtually have shut down the economy as infections and deaths from COVID-19 mount.

Before 11 a.m. EDT, the number of confirmed coronavirus infections approached 217,000 with 5,148 deaths, 1,374 of them in New York City.

Pelosi Wednesday said congressional leaders and administration representatives should get a bipartisan bill ready so Congress can act before the end of the month. Democrats are looking to enact an infrastructure bill to address clean water, mobility and broadband, as well as the need for community health centers.

“We do need another bill, much of it to help the states and localities to meet the needs of their people,” she said.

But McConnell dismissed the suggestion.

“She needs to stand down on the notion that we’re going to go along with taking advantage of the crisis to do things that are unrelated to the crisis,” McConnell told the Washington Post, calling Pelosi’s call “premature.”

“How about national right to work? How about Davis-Bacon [prevailing wage] reform? How about ending junk lawsuits against doctors and hospitals? You get the drift,” McConnell said. “We both have agendas we’d like to see pass -- and can’t pass in this current environment.”

McConnell said he’s concerned about the impact the emergency legislation is having on the budget. The budget deficit was $1 trillion last year and had been expected to eclipse that in fiscal 2020. The U.S. debt stood at nearly $23.7 trillion Thursday.

“We’d all love to do it, but there is the reality of how you pay for it,” McConnell said. “We just passed a $2 trillion bill, and it would take a lot of convincing to convince me that we should do transportation in a way that’s not credibly paid for after what we just passed last week.”

Trump called for a $2 trillion infrastructure bill Tuesday to get the country back to work once the peak of the pandemic is past.

McConnell said the Senate would not consider any bill coming out of the House ahead of negotiations. Sen. John Barrasso, head of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, told the Post he would only consider advancing an infrastructure bill once the country is at the point of recovery.