Democratic Congressional leaders are seeking up to $1 trillion in the next coronavirus aid package, a number that will almost surely run into controversy with Republicans who have very different priorities, according to a report by the Associated Press.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the $1 trillion tag was necessary in order to avoid layoffs and protect “heroes” working at grocery stores and hospitals as states run into the red on costs as they try to combat the virus and deal with economic fallouts from the shutdowns since mid-March.
“This is something of the highest priority,” Pelosi said, according to the AP. “It honors our heroes.”
Pelosi’s announcement comes as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled he is also open to further financial aid.
However, McConnell is firm on not sending out additional aid to alleviate over-spending.
“We’re not interested in borrowing money from future generations to send down to states to help them with bad decisions they made in the past unrelated to the coronavirus epidemic,” he said, the AP reported.
Instead, McConnell wants more funds to go toward liability reforms to prevent lawsuits against nurses and doctors in the future.
Governors of various states, including New Jersey and McConnell’s own home state of Kentucky, have chimed in saying that their states will definitely need more aid than what has already been given in the previous trillions of dollars of aid since the pandemic hit.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the price tag for his state might hit $20 billion to $30 billion alone, and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he had spoken with McConnell about additional assistance to stave off having to lose more jobs.
“I appreciate him hearing me out,” Beshear said at his daily briefing, according to the AP. “Now I hope that he will be able to act.”
Pelosi has said that her request for more funding, despite its size, could potentially be spread out over years to cushion the blowback from the pandemic even as the U.S. eventually eases out of it.