The early skirmish suggests that the next round of deals may not be nearly as fast as the last bailout, even if economists say that much more government support is likely to be needed – and possibly soon.
Pelosi’s push for a new relief measure comes after a series of tense negotiations with McConnell and White House officials that will raise a $ 2 trillion bill to save the US economy and help individuals, businesses and states deal with the pandemic have to do.
This legislation, which President Donald Trump signed on Friday, was largely negotiated by Senate leaders and caused dismay among House Democrats who believed many of their priorities had been ignored. The previous package, which the Republicans disagreed with, was drafted almost exclusively by Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Pelosi hopes that the next bill will ultimately also be non-partisan: “As I said, all three of our bills were non-partisan. We want this to be the case. “
The leaders of the House Democrats discussed their ideas on Monday with their base. The key chairpersons and their staff have already put together more than half a dozen proposals, many of which have been left on the floor of the editing room in previous roundtables with Republicans.
In particular, Pelosi signaled to her caucus that the infrastructure would likely be part of the “Phase 4” package, with priorities such as water systems, broadband and the energy network being ticked off.
“It is clear that we need to do more, especially when it comes to protecting the health and safety of frontline health workers,” said Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Chairman of the House Education and Work Committee, on Monday to reporters.
The bill could see a vote on the ground within a few weeks. The house is scheduled to be closed by April 20, and lawmakers are keen to avoid returning to the Capitol until this is absolutely necessary given the rapidly spreading outbreak of the coronavirus.
Pelosi said the house will likely vote on the package after returning from Easter and Passover holidays in late April, although there is always a possibility that lawmakers will return earlier if Congress is needed to act. Alternatively, if the legislator is far from a shop, he can stay away longer.
“I think it is really important that as soon as we are here we are ready to pass laws,” said Pelosi.
Three days after Trump signed the $ 2 trillion bill, it is not immediately clear how much more help could be needed. But top Democrats have been loudly pushing for another bailout – with even bigger cash payments to Americans – as the virus continues to devastate the US economy and become more infected. Initial unemployment claims have risen to over 3 million, and public health officials may predict hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Many Democrats are also keen to fight again for policies – such as robust family and sick leave programs and increased worker protection for first responders – that GOP negotiators have rejected in previous bills.
Democrats have also said that the federal government is likely to have to send more money to state and local governments to cover the cost of coronavirus treatment and food aid. While fighting with some governors, Trump has also recognized the need to deliver more emergency funds to states.
“States are bleeding out,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Whose district has 1,800 cases, in an interview on Monday. “There is no income, then there are the massive costs for care and treatment. This is just a huge hole to dig out. We will need more resources.”
Then, added Gottheimer, there are big questions about how to boost the economy in the coming weeks and months when normal life starts again: “Will people rush back to a restaurant? Will you rush back to an amusement park? There will be certain things that will take longer to return. “
The Republicans have said it is too early to examine what could be included in a potential “phase 4” package and have found that the current relief measure is being implemented.
“Let’s make it work. Let’s make it work in America,” said Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), President of the house’s minority, last week.
Republican Senate officials, in particular, are not keen to tackle yet another major stimulus package, particularly with a focus on infrastructure and other expenditures that are not directly related to the health crisis. And they quickly rejected Pelosi’s “Phase 4” proposal as nothing more than an ideological wish list.