House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s not on board with the idea of a pared-down — or “skinnier — version of a COVID-19 stimulus relief bill.
The House speaker told Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour Thursday that she did not think a stripped-down package would be beneficial or strategic for Americans.
“I don’t think strategically it’s where we should go right now because the Republicans would like to pass something like that and say forget about” other Democratic priorities, Pelosi expressed to Woodruff.
U.S. Senate Republicans recently suggested a “skinny bill” version of their $1 trillion relief package after both chambers failed to reach a deal by their self-imposed deadline of August 7, Heavy previously reported.
The Senate’s stripped-down bill, which does not include stimulus checks, contains the following, according to Heavy and Politico:
- $300 in weekly enhanced unemployment benefits. This is significantly lower than the previous $600 provided by the CARES Act back in March.
- Liability protections. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has strongly advocated for the protection of entities operating during the pandemic from lawsuits relating to COVID-19.
- More money for the Paycheck Protection Program.
- $10 billion extra for the U.S. Postal Service.
- Money “for education and testing.”
More than 100 House Democrats have since urged Pelosi to pass a smaller relief bill that expands unemployment benefits, CNBC disclosed.
The 114 legislators addressed the House Speaker and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in a letter Tuesday seeking a bill that would re-establish the $600 in additional funds, the outlet added.
“I don’t think the timing is for us to do it right now,” Pelosi responded when asked about the letter during her PBS interview.
The California Democrat emphasized that she wants upcoming legislation to incorporate state and local aid, food for children and United States Postal Service funding for mail-in ballots during the November election, among other things, her PBS transcript reads.
As the Senate toys with its informal skinny bill, the House will return on Saturday to vote on legislation “that would fund the U.S. Postal Service and reverse changes Democrats worry will make it harder for Americans to vote by mail in November,” CNBC added.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Relief Package’s Total Cost Remains a Hot-Button Issue Among Negotiators
Congress announced on August 14 that it is taking a break until after Labor Day as relief negotiations continue to stall, according to Heavy.
House Democrats have been pushing for $1 trillion of a $3 trillion package, the HEROES Act, to go toward states and municipalities, while Senate Republicans have remained firm on their stance of a total package not exceeding $1 trillion, Heavy added.
“We have a vast difference in our values,” Pelosi indicated to MSNBC during an August 12 interview with Craig Melvin.
The House speaker recently doubled down on her offer for Republicans to increase their relief package, the HEALS Act, by $1 trillion in return for Democrats to lower theirs by the same amount.
Pelosi expressed to CNBC that she will not “restart discussions until Republicans increase their aid offer by $1 trillion.”
Trump Blames Democrats for the Delay, Citing Their Push for Mail-In Ballots
President Donald Trump is blaming Democrats for the stall in the second coronavirus stimulus package, citing their demands for funding for universal mail-in ballots, Fox News reported.
The post office, projected to be inundated with mail-in ballots in the upcoming election due to safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, has also fueled a fiery debate among negotiators, The Hill added.
Democrats are seeking $25 billion in additional aid in the next relief bill for the United States Postal Service, according to the outlet.
Trump told Fox News that the funding would cause “the greatest fraud in history” in November.
“It’s their fault,” Trump expressed to FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “They want $3.5 billion for something that’s fraudulent … for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion for the post office. They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots.”
“But if they don’t get those two items, then they can’t have mail-in ballots,” he added.
The president later softened his stance, indicating that he would approve of the $25 billion for the post office as long as Democrats made concessions on certain White House wants, Fox News said.
“Sure, if they give us what we want,” he told Fox News’ John Roberts during a press conference when asked if he would compromise. “And it’s not what I want, it’s what the American people want.”
READ NEXT: COVID-19 Study: 80% of People Won’t Infect Others, New Research Says