(CNSNews.com) - One day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) outlined what she wants to see in a "phase four" rescue bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said whoa.
"What I disagree with the Speaker on, is she's already saying we need to work on phase four. Well look, the current law has not been in effect for even a week yet," McConnell told Fox News Radio on Tuesday.
Americans who qualify have not yet received their $1,200 checks, nor have small businesses received the loans they need to keep employees on the payroll.
"I mean, the implementation of this -- the Treasury Department's got a massive, complicated problem here in getting all of this money out rapidly," McConnell said:
And the Speaker is already talking about phase four. Well, we may need a phase four, but we're not even fully into phase three yet.
This was the third coronavirus bill that we've passed, and the biggest one by far. And it was crafted by a Republican majority in the Senate, approved without a single dissenting vote. And I've got a significant number of members who under other circumstances would simply not have voted for a bill like this.
This was not like '08, where banks had made mistakes and lending, underwriting had been ignored, and a variety of other mistakes were made. Here, no mistake was made, we just got hit by this enemy. And this (stay at home) is the only way to respond to it, according to our public health professionals.
Speaking of stay at home, McConnell decided to remain in Washington rather than travel back to Kentucky. "I've actually been quite busy on the phone doing things like you and I are doing, and then some other things as well," he told Fox News's Guy Benson. "It turns out you can still be productive at home."
McConnell said the Phase 3 "rescue package" is "not expected to go on forever...We're trying to bridge the gap here between where we are today and where we hope to be once this pandemic has experienced a curve -- a curve downward,” he said.
“And so we are trying to get direct money into the hands of individuals and to small businesses and big businesses, too, who are in trouble and losing employees have an opportunity through the Treasury Stabilization Fund to receive assistance as well and they can show that.”
He emphasized that the changes in the $2.2 trillion bill are not permanent:
In fact, that's what I was trying to fend off when the Speaker of the House decided to try to come over to the Senate and tell us how to write the bill.
She wanted to practice what Rahm Emanuel famously said after the financial crisis in 2008, said never let a crisis go to waste. In other words, seize upon crisis to try to makes systemic or policy changes you couldn't otherwise pass.
So yes, it was designed to be a rescue package. It's hard to argue that $2 trillion is not a lot of money. It certainly won't be enough if this persists.
And the reason I'm hoping just about every American is following the advice of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx and staying in their homes is that we can begin to see this decline.
McConnell said he's mindful that the phase 3 rescue package added $2 trillion to the national debt: "And I think before we go at this again...we need to make certain that any further actions we take are directly related to this public health crisis."