WASHINGTON ― As coronavirus cases continue to spike, and as a number of economic relief provisions expire in the coming weeks, congressional leaders are hard at work assuring voters that a stimulus deal is right around the corner ― any day now, maybe, hopefully, probably not.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that there was “no reason, none,” why Congress shouldn’t deliver another “major pandemic relief package” to help Americans through potentially the last chapters of the coronavirus fallout.
“We need a second round of the job-saving Paycheck Protection Program for the workers at the hardest-hit establishments,” McConnell said, adding that major parts of a previous relief bill have already expired and more will sunset by the end of December.
Without congressional action, nearly 12 million people will lose federal unemployment benefits the day after Christmas, a limited moratorium on evictions will expire, and student debtors will have to resume making payments on their loans. Congress created these coronavirus relief initiatives in March, when they expected the pandemic to last only a few months.
But, McConnell said, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have blocked another bill.
“The Speaker of the House spent the entire summer and the entire autumn literally gambling with the health and welfare of the American people,” McConnell said. “She gambled that if American families didn’t get any more relief before the election, her party would expand its majority in the House and Democrats could continue demanding the right to remake all of society along far-left lines.”
The truth, of course, is far less kind to McConnell.
The House has now passed two different bills ― a $3 trillion one in May, and a scaled-down $2.2 trillion bill in October ― that would have provided another round of stimulus checks for most Americans, continued enhanced unemployment...