Pelosi, Schumer Face Growing Pressure to Take Smaller Virus Relief Deal

November 30, 2020 Updated: November 30, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are facing more calls to pass a smaller CCP virus relief measure, coming weeks after talks between the Democratic congressional leaders and the White House stalled over the size and scope of the measure.

Austan Goolsbee, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration, says something needs to be implemented soon, suggesting that Schumer and Pelosi should consider taking up a smaller, more targeted offer from Republicans and the White House.

“There are a lot of people really hurting in the country; I hope that they can agree on something soon,” he told CNN over the weekend.

“I know everyone calls it stimulus, and it’s sort of a pedantic point, but this isn’t stimulus, this is literally just relief money until we can get the furnace back on. We have to do this. It’s not jumpstarting growth. It’s just keeping people from being evicted, keeping businesses from shutting down permanently from what was supposed to be a temporary shock. And I think it’s important,” he said.

When asked about whether Democrats should accept a smaller deal, as the White House has proposed, the former adviser said they probably should.

Over the past several months, Schumer and Pelosi have said they won’t pass a measure that’s less than $2.2 trillion, while the White House went up to about $1.9 trillion during the height of the negotiation process.

“So if [Democrats] have to accept half a loaf,” Goolsbee said, “then I think they should accept half a loaf, and then let’s try to get another half of a loaf. But right now is really touch and go, and I wish both sides could see that.”

Democrats have said the White House bill doesn’t provide enough funding to state and local governments, as well as other provisions, while Republicans have said Democrats are trying to push a “socialist manifesto” with their bills.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) recently told CQ Roll Call that “some significant relief to people” is needed.

“I just hope that we can get agreement. It may not be everything that everybody wants, but at least if we can get some significant relief to people,” he said. “And then we’re going to be here next year. If we need to do other things, we’ll do other things.”