House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that she will continue to demand an approximately $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package, saying she would reject a proposal supported by centrist Democrats and Republicans in the House.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers called the Problem Solvers Caucus introduced a $1.5 trillion bill that includes extra unemployment benefits, $1,200 stimulus checks, and about $500 billion in state and federal funding. Democrats in May passed the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, which includes $1 trillion in funding to cities and states.
In a news conference, a New York Times reporter asked her about why she would not support the smaller measure. “Just go read my statement,” Pelosi replied.
Pelosi, in an interview, rejected calls to hold a vote on the smaller relief bill.
“We can put a bill on the floor, but we want to put a bill on the floor that will become law,” she said Thursday.
In a rare move, eight Democratic committee chairs released a statement in an attempt to quell support for the Problem Solvers Caucus’ bill.
“When it comes to bolstering the public health system, supporting state and local governments, and assisting struggling families, the Problem Solvers’ proposal leaves too many needs unmet,” their statement said.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, said he supports the $1.5 trillion bipartisan plan.
“I like the larger amount, I’ve said that,” Trump said in a White House press briefing. “Some of the Republicans disagree, but I think I can convince them to go along with that because I like the larger number. I want to see people get money.”
Earlier this week, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement that they welcome calls from President Trump and the White House to pass a higher-dollar bill. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump wants a bill greater than $500 billion.
“We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package,” the two top Democrats said in their statement. “We look forward to hearing from the President’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway with a bill that is equal to the massive health and economic crises gripping our nation.”
Several weeks ago, after negotiations between the two parties stalled, Pelosi and Schumer said they would cut about $1 trillion from their deal, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected.
It’s not clear when the White House will meet with Pelosi and Schumer over the details of a new deal.
Trump and the GOP have accused top Democrats of not wanting to support a CCP virus deal because it could benefit the president’s reelection chances.