Pelosi faces growing Democratic unrest over Covid relief

“We can’t wait forever for what we think is the perfect proposal, and that obviously isn’t going to help anyone. This is where time is of the essence,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Who turned one GOP seat in 2018.

But he added that Democrats cannot accept too low a number either: “If you look at something that is completely inadequate and does not take into account the complexities of money, then you are actually wasting that money.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), The influential freshman lawmaker, also said she looked at the issue despite seeing the devastating impact of the pandemic at home.

“This government appears to want to cut another check for $ 1,200, but they don’t actually want to provide state and local checks.” [aid]”Said Ocasio-Cortez.” That $ 1,200 is a nice little sugar high, and I support doing another stimulus check, but a second check-in and on its own – if we don’t support state and local funding If it doesn’t involve significant investment in testing, tracking capacity, and infrastructure – all it is is a little sugar high. It won’t solve the critical problems of the pandemic. “

The sentiment of Ocasio-Cortez and others reflects growing fear within the Democratic caucus about how the party’s handling of the coronavirus response and whether they need to do more to counter the GOP’s news. The House passed a $ 3.4 trillion aid package in May, but the Senate has not responded.

Some Democrats fear that voters have long forgotten the House’s massive aid package in May and will upset both parties in November. They say voting on extra bills could help remind people at home that the Democrats have been pushing for more help all along.

“Let’s make sure Americans know what we stand for and where we are,” said Rep. Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.).

One idea, Meeks said, is to come up with a new proposal that will reflect the roughly $ 2 trillion price tag, which Pelosi has called the lowest number Democrats would accept.

“I think we can re-emphasize what we’re doing and how we’re going to spend the money and even where we’ve made some reductions,” Meeks said.

But Pelosi has flatly resisted calls by some Democrats to negotiate a smaller coronavirus deal or put targeted bills on the ground that address certain aspects of the pandemic, including testing, unemployment benefits and small business loans.

Talks between Pelosi and the White House, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have stalled for weeks, even as the coronavirus continues to devastate the US economy and millions of people are unemployed and in danger of losing their homes. More than 6.5 million Americans have been infected with the virus and more than 194,000 have died.

Senate Democrats blocked the GOP’s attempt last week to propose a $ 500 billion “skimpy” coronavirus relief bill, leaving senators from both parties – including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell himself – to speculate that the Congress leaders would not get another coronavirus deal until after the election.

That prospect, however, has alarmed many moderates in the House, especially those facing tough races in November. Some, led by the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, have worked out their own long-term compromise to break a deal before November.

That group released a roughly $ 2 trillion plan on Tuesday to renew expired programs like unemployment benefits and small business loans. However, it also includes billions in spending that Senate Republicans have already declined, such as cash for state and local governments or the U.S. postal service. Pelosi announced that it was negotiating a $ 2.2 trillion package with Republicans, but was unwilling to go below that number.

Pelosi did not address the problem solvers’ plan during Tuesday’s caucus appeal, but her position was clarified later that day when several of its committee chairmen issued a joint statement dismissing the plan as “insufficient”.

Some of these allies, including Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Chairman of House Ways and Means, also defended Pelosi’s strategy in Tuesday’s caucus appeal.

“It is really important for us not to let up,” said Neal, according to Democrats who voted.

But not everyone agreed.

The Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Did not sign the joint statement. And he said on the caucus call it was clear that Democrats would have to re-address the coronavirus before going home to vote, noting that it has been four months since the house raised its $ 3.4 trillion Dollar relief has passed Invoice.

“We can’t leave town without a package,” DeFazio said, stressing that Democrats are passing a law that provides for coronavirus aid at least until early next year, when there may be a Democratic President in the White House. “We have to talk about all of our principles in a five-month calculation.”

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