Pelosi faces renewed pressure from Democrats to strike COVID relief deal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is once again facing pressure from within her own party to negotiate a COVID-19 relief bill.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), for example, called on Pelosi to take up a compromise deal, declaring that there is “no excuse” to abandon American citizens in dire financial straits. 

“You’ve got to give us a vote”

Prior to Election Day, Pelosi had fielded concern from Democrats who felt she should have negotiated with President Donald Trump and Republicans on Capitol Hill. She remained firm in her demand for a multitrillion-dollar package, refusing multiple compromise packages.

In recent weeks, she has faced additional pressure after announcing that she would be willing to consider a smaller proposal based on a media-declared win for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Durbin is among those who have been pushing for a vote on the compromise bill after a bipartisan group of lawmakers laid out two versions worth $748 billion and $908 billion, respectively.

“There is no excuse for the speaker or the leader,” he said. “You’ve got to give us a vote.”

Lawmakers in both parties echoed that sentiment, including Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).

“The relief they need”

He declared that it would be “Scrooge-like” for Congress to dismiss for the holidays without passing a deal.

As of Wednesday, leaders on both sides of the aisle had reported progress and Congress was said to be nearing a $900 billion agreement. That deal reportedly includes a second round of stimulus checks, additional loans for small businesses, and another boost to unemployment.

For his part, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on Wednesday that the compromise is “not a done deal yet” but asserted that it is “very close.”

Punctuating his point with a partisan jab, he claimed that for his party “this has always been about getting the American people the relief they need.”

Congress is rushing to reach a deal ahead of a Friday deadline for a wider spending agreement, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed optimism on Tuesday, stating: “I’m not going to get into details, but we’re getting closer. And as I’ve said all week and I’ll say again tonight – you’re tired of hearing it – everybody wants to finish. Everybody wants to get a final agreement as soon as possible. We all believe the country needs it. And I think we’re getting closer and closer.”

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