KEY POINTS

  • McConnell said Congress might approve a new relief package before the end of the year
  • He expressed optimism over potentially striking a deal post-election
  • A new coronavirus bill will help prevent a government shutdown at the end of the year

Americans may need to wait until next year for any potential second stimulus bill, as negotiations are expected to be moved to January due to a hiatus in Congress. 

Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, said negotiations over the next stimulus package could be delayed until at least early next year, regardless of the presidential election results, CNBC reported. 

However, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was re-elected for the seventh term, said Wednesday that Congress might approve a new relief package before Dec. 31 when they return to Washington next week. 

During a press conference in Kentucky, McConnell said a new bill is the top priority when Congress comes back from recess. He also expressed optimism that negotiators could strike a deal post-election. 

McConnell said federal aid for local and state governments could be part of the legislation. However, he did not mention whether it will include provisions for another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. 

“We need another rescue package," McConnell said. "Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election. And I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year.”

McConnell also said that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have agreed that there needs to be a coronavirus relief bill and funding for the government in December to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the year, Politico reported.  

“It’s a basic function of government that we haven’t handled very well in recent years and we need to do that,” he said. “So we have two big things to do before the end of the year.”

House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill earlier this year. The legislation — which included a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks and $75 billion in funding for coronavirus testing, tracing, and treatment — failed to pass in the Senate. 

Republicans also attempted to pass a $500 billion COVID-19 bill that included federal unemployment benefits and financial assistance to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill, which did not include provisions for a fresh round of stimulus checks, was ultimately blocked by House Democrats. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds the edge against his Democratic challenger in Kentucky. It's unlikely that Congress will be able to pass a new stimulus package for the US economy before the November 3 election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Photo: AFP / Nicholas Kamm