House Democrats made the case for a $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package Friday (May 15), as White House and GOP leaders said they oppose what would amount to the largest emergency spending bill in the nation’s history.
The vote, expected Friday night, is likely to enact the more than 1,800-page bill in the Democratic-controlled House, CNBC reported.
The new measure proposes relief for cash-strapped state and local governments, a second direct payment to Americans, hazard pay for front line workers, more money for coronavirus testing and a temporarily rollback of the cap on state and local tax deductions.
The first COVID-19 package of $2.2 trillion was passed in bipartisan fashion in March.
While Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has asked lawmakers to “pause” to see the impact of the original bailout on the economy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the money needed to pay rent, mortgages, food and other bills do not wait.
“So now, we’re putting our offer on the table,” the California Democrat told reporters Thursday (May 14). “We’re open to negotiation.”
But the Senate is unlikely to embrace it. McConnell called it “an unserious product from an unserious majority,” the cable network reported. President Donald Trump has threatened to veto it.
On Wednesday (May 13), U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News the latest coronavirus stimulus package is partisan and unlikely to go anywhere.
“I’m very pleased that during this crisis, Congress acted very quickly in a bipartisan way,” Mnuchin told the network. “The last two bills in the Senate passed 96-0 and 100-0, and we just got ready to spend $3 trillion … This is not in the spirit of anything that has been bipartisan and I can’t see that moving forward in its current framework in any event.”
Discussion of another major piece of legislation comes on the heels of the latest jobless claims numbers for the week ending May 9 that were nearly 3 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. That pushed the total number of claims filed since the crisis began to a record 36.5 million.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that despite the president’s opposition to the House bill, he would be open to another coronavirus relief measure.
Also on Thursday, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York told CNBC he is “optimistic” Congress can reach a deal on another coronavirus response plan and called for talks with Republicans.