Lawmakers are being pressured to pass some form of relief for unemployed Americans soon as record-high coronavirus cases have postponed and rolled back business re-openings across the country.
Unemployment had been dropping as businesses reopened, but that trend reversed in July. The Labor Department reported that that 1.4 million Americans filed new jobless claims in the week ending July 25, the first increase in three months. And a separate Census Bureau survey found that nearly four million fewer people were employed the week ending July 14 compared to the previous week.
The Commerce Department also reported that the U.S. economy shrank at a record annual rate of 32.9 percent in the second quarter in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic closings.
Both Sen. McConnell and House Speaker Pelosi have indicated a desire to pass additional pandemic stimulus relief soon to address the economic damage from the pandemic.
The House of Representatives was set to go out on recess on July 31, but Rep. Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have said that the House would be willing to continue working with senators to pass coronavirus stimulus relief legislation, including additional unemployment benefits. Speaker Pelosi indicated that she plans to continue meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows this week to seek agreement. Senators are slated to go on recess from August 10 to September 7. So another stimulus bill would need to be voted on by Friday, August 7, in order to pass before that scheduled recess.
If lawmakers do not pass legislation before the August break, and the recess is not postponed, it could be mid- to late September before a stimulus package is passed.