WASHINGTON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that the next COVID-19 relief bill will include a second round of stimulus checks to American households and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses.
"Speaking of building on what worked in the CARES Act, we want another round of direct payments to help American families keep driving our national comeback," McConnell said on the Senate floor, referring to the 2.2 trillion-U.S.-dollar COVID-19 relief package passed in March, which included a one-time check of up to 1,200 dollars for individuals.
"With the majority of businesses expected to exhaust their initial Paycheck Protection Funding this summer, we'll also be proposing a targeted second round of the PPP with a special eye toward hard-hit businesses," he said.
Noting that COVID-19 infections are "climbing again in hot spots across the country," McConnell said the U.S. economy "needs another shot of adrenaline."
"The legislation that I have begun to sketch out is neither another CARES Act to float the entire economy, nor a typical stimulus bill for a nation that's ready to get back to normal. Our country is in a complex middle ground between those two things," he said, adding U.S. economic recovery "remains fragile and far from sufficient" despite of encouraging progress so far.
"We can't go back to April, and we can't snap our fingers and finish the vaccine overnight. We need to carve out a new normal," said the Senate Republican leader.
McConnell's remarks came as U.S. lawmakers are under immense pressure to craft a new fiscal package, including further aid to households and businesses, before a looming deadline for enhanced unemployment benefits.
Some 25 million Americans are set to lose 600 dollars a week each in federal unemployment benefits at the end of the month, according to local media.
U.S. Congress has provided roughly 2.9 trillion dollars in fiscal support for households, businesses, healthcare providers, and state and local governments, to blunt the economic impact resulted from the pandemic.
But the resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country is threatening to derail the nascent economic recovery as many states have either paused or partially reversed their staged reopening plans.
The House of Representatives in May had passed a new 3-trillion-dollar coronavirus relief package, but it was proposed by Democrats and was not likely to gain approval from the Republican-held Senate.