GOP senators heed Fed chair’s call for more relief

Senate Republican support for moving the next coronavirus relief bill as soon as next month is growing after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned lawmakers this week that the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic could last for years.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has put the brakes on further coronavirus relief negotiations, citing the budgetary impact of trillions of dollars in unanticipated spending.

But a growing group of GOP senators, which includes some of the conference’s most vulnerable members in this year’s elections, say they shouldn’t let another month pass without significant progress on another economic relief package.

  • “I think June doesn’t need to come and go without a phase four,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). He added that Republicans aren’t feeling any pressure to take action because of a Democratic bill he called “outlandish,” but he acknowledged Powell’s words have influence.
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the chamber’s most vulnerable GOP incumbents, took to the floor Wednesday to urge her colleagues not to wait any longer to pass another relief package with hundreds of billions of dollars in additional aid to state and local governments.
  • Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), another vulnerable incumbent, on Wednesday urged the Senate not to leave town for the weeklong Memorial Day recess after making little to no progress on another coronavirus relief bill.

The calls from vulnerable senators to take action are likely to be heard by McConnell, who is focused on keeping the Senate in GOP hands. The Hill’s Alexander Bolton has more here

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