The roughly half a trillion dollar package is being voted after more than two weeks of tense negotiations between Pelosi, the GOP leaders, and the White House, led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. What started as a GOP call for an additional $ 250 billion to replenish Congress’s small business relief program has grown into a much larger package.
The agreement between the two parties includes additional funding for small businesses totaling around $ 380 billion, as well as huge sums of money for hospitals and disease tests, both driven by Democrats.
In particular, the package contains no relief for local governments, another of the Democrats’ greatest demands. In many cities across the country, large parts of their income – wage and income taxes – have dried up amid the economic blockade.
Democrats have announced that they will move immediately to the next package, which they believe should include another round of relief for state and local governments.
“Anyone who thinks this is the last train from the station isn’t close to the case,” said Senate Minority President Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) At a press conference with Pelosi this week.
However, Republican leaders have stated that they are not interested in responding quickly to another package. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Said he would not postpone additional aid packages without his chamber implementing full legislation at the session. Both the House and the Senate will return on May 4th.
“We committed $ 2.8 trillion last month to fight this pandemic. That increases government debt by a lot of money, ”McConnell said on Thursday on WYGE radio in Kentucky.
“So I said we have to press the pause button here and remember that the only way out is for the economy to slowly reopen,” he said.
The house is also expected to pass a law on Thursday establishing a select coronavirus monitoring committee, headed by Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), The Whip of the House Majority. The vote will take place after Pelosi abruptly abandoned its plans to push through house rule changes on Wednesday to allow proxy voting during the pandemic.
Instead, Pelosi said, she and other top Democrats will be working with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) To work out a bipartisan plan for how Congress will work in the coming months.
The bipartisan task force headed by McCarthy and Hoyer is expected to meet on Thursday afternoon.
Pelosi said she hoped to reach agreement on a remote voting plan by then, although Republicans in both chambers are urging Congress to resume its regular personal schedule.
Burgess Everett contributed to this report.