House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) thinks Republicans’ latest coronavirus stimulus plan “is a non-starter.”
According to the Washington Examiner, Pelosi indicated in a letter to House Democrats on Friday that she would say no to a roughly $1 trillion relief package put forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unless some major changes are made.
Pelosi says no
Pelosi complained in her Friday letter that McConnell’s proposal “is not at all pro-worker and puts corporations ahead of working people.” She instead touted legislation being worked on in the House, which she called “truly visionary, fast-acting, and evidence-based.”
“First and foremost, our response must address the coronavirus outbreak as the public health crisis that it is: rebuilding our health care infrastructure on a national scale and securing the resources to test and treat everyone,” the House speaker wrote. “We must do everything that we can to support doctors and scientists as they pursue treatments, a cure, and a vaccine.”
Pelosi said she won’t greenlight a coronavirus response bill unless it “greatly” increases welfare programs like Medicaid and offers relief to small businesses, the Examiner noted.
“[W]e must tighten the safety net in America, which is sadly and seriously frayed,” Pelosi wrote Friday. “Any response package must greatly increase Unemployment Insurance and Medicaid, help small businesses survive, expand paid sick and family leave, and put money directly into the hands of those who need it most.”
A deal in the making?
According to The Hill, McConnell’s “Phase 3” plan, released Thursday, “features cash payments to individuals, low-cost loans for small businesses, new funding to boost the health care system, and a financial lifeline for the hardest-hit industries, like aviation and cruise lines.” But as The Hill reports, Democrats are looking for a much “broader” package that, in the words of California Democrat Rep. Jared Huffman, brings “adequate relief to people who need it most.”
“We want to make sure that we get adequate relief to people who need it most, and that there be some economic sideboards on the things we do, so that we’re not just sending checks to wealthy people who don’t need money, so that we’re not just rewarding corporations,” Huffman told fellow Dems on a call Thursday, according to The Hill.
On the same call, Pelosi told her caucus not to worry about the costs of such drastic measures.
“It’s an investment in the health of the economy,” she said, according to The Hill. “Time is of the essence.”
Previous bills out of Congress focused on securing research and testing for COVID-19. With that out of the way, Republicans and Democrats alike are now looking to inject some cash back into the American economy — and they reportedly worked throughout the weekend to reach a deal.
“We are poised to deliver the significant relief that Americans need with the speed that this crisis demands,” McConnell told reporters late Saturday, according to Fox News.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has similarly said that he thinks lawmakers are “very close” to a bipartisan deal. “Everybody’s working hard and they want to get to a solution that’s the right solution; I think we’re very close,” the president said Saturday, according to Fox.