Without an appointment within 48 hours, there will not be enough time to adopt a coronavirus stimulus bill before election day, House President Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.
Pelosi, D-California, said on ABC’s “This Week” that she wanted to make an agreement by November 3, but there had to be a deadline so the bill could be drafted and passed in time. The House has passed a $ 2.2 trillion measure, while the White House has offered $ 1.8 trillion.
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“I am optimistic because we have been back and forth with all this again,” she said. “Because we want an agreement, we can come to negotiations. And we can do it now.”
She reiterated this optimism later in a letter to members of the House Democratic Caucus.
Senate Republicans, meanwhile, scheduled votes on their own scaled-down legislation Tuesday and Wednesday.
As the debate over a new stimulus proposal continued, Raphael Bostic, CEO of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, said Sunday that the economy has not yet recovered in many areas and for many people, especially low-income residents.
“In some segments the economy recovers and returns in a very robust way, but in other segments, e.g. Hotels and restaurants, small businesses, especially in minority and low-income communities, see these places in much more difficult situations, “Bostic said on CBS ‘” Face the Nation. “
“The segments where we do not see that recovery, that’s really what I’m worried about as we move forward,” he said. “What the virus has done is put a wedge in our economy. Those who have been in need is in much more need, while others do not feel it at all. ”
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One of the key points in the negotiations between the White House and Pelosi remains the Democrats’ insistence on a $ 75 billion national plan for testing, contract tracking and treatment to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“‘Must,’ is different from ‘May,’ ‘Pelosi said. If you think about it this simple way: When you say ‘can’, you are giving the president a slush fund. He can do this, he can give, he can withhold. When you say ‘must’, according to the scientific – science tells us it must happen. “
“And if we test and track and treat, mask, disassemble, ventilate, disinfect and everything else, we can open our schools, we can open our businesses.”
Another issue has been funding for state and local governments.
“Administration continues to fail to meet the well-documented need for funds to protect frontline workers in health care, first staff, sanitation, transportation, food workers, teachers and others and to prevent cuts in services to struggling communities,” Pelosi told House Democrats in her letter.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Announced Saturday that his chamber was ready to vote on a $ 500 billion bill that does not include a new round of stimulus payments or any state and local assistance.
He said the Senate would vote Tuesday to expand the small business payroll protection program and on a larger measure Wednesday that included PPP funding, additional unemployment insurance benefits, school grants and money for testing, tracking and vaccine research and distribution.
“No one thinks this $ 500B + proposal would solve any problem forever,” McConnell said. “It would provide huge amounts of extra help to workers and families right now, while Washington continues to quarrel about the rest.”
There was no indication as to whether the Senate measure protects companies from lawsuits from employees and customers infected with the virus, or whether they include increased federal subsidies to religious and other private schools. Those provisions were part of a $ 500 billion GOP bill that did not get enough votes last month.
Jonathan D. Salant can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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