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2nd stimulus bill likely won’t pass until August, McCarthy says

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  • A second coronavirus stimulus bill will likely not pass until August, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
  • The $600-per-week expansion to unemployment benefits is set to expire in July, pulling a key lifeline for millions of jobless Americans. Democrats and Republicans have yet to agree on extending the expansion’s deadline.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that the Republicans aim to spend $1 trillion on their stimulus bill, well below the $3 trillion passed by House Democrats in May.
  • While nearly all Democrats and some Republicans oppose the payroll tax cut President Trump has repeatedly insisted on including, McCarthy said the policy “will stay in” the GOP stimulus measure.
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Congress will likely need to wait until August to pass its second round of economic stimulus, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday.

Legislators have days to iron out a new spending package before a $600-per-week expansion to federal unemployment benefits dries up. Democrats and Republicans have yet to agree on the program’s future, yet its upcoming expiration threatens to pull a key lifeline to millions of jobless Americans. The California Republican expects divisions between the two parties on key facets of the bill to delay its passage.

“I envision that this bill doesn’t get done by the end of July,” McCarthy said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” adding he expects Congress to pass the measure “probably in the first week of August.”

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Republican legislators and White House officials met Monday to detail their draft for a second round of fiscal relief. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the party aims to spend “another trillion dollars,” significantly less than the $3 trillion package passed by House Democrats in May. Republicans’ measure will mostly focus on “kids and jobs and vaccines,” he added. 

“We’ll have tax credits for PPE, for safe work environments, and we’re going to have big incentives, money to the states for education, for schools that can open safely and do education,” Mnuchin said Monday.

The White House didn’t specify its plans for the unemployment benefit expansion. Mnuchin said the next bill shouldn’t pay Americans “more money to stay home than go to work,” and that Republicans are looking for a “technical fix” to the program. Where Republican lawmakers have mulled cutting the expansion, Democrats largely hope to keep the $600-per-week addition.

One feature of the bill set to sow division both between and within parties is a proposed payroll tax holiday. President Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted on the policy being included in a second spending bill. Yet several GOP legislators have said such a holiday is too pricey for how little it helps unemployed Americans. Democrats flatly oppose the idea. 

McCarthy said Tuesday he believes the payroll tax cut “will stay in as one of the elements of what we need to do.”

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