House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Congress may have to work past its August recess to pass a stimulus package aimed at limiting economic losses during the pandemic.
“We absolutely have to. We also have to come to an agreement. The timetable is the timetable of the American people,” Pelosi said in an interview on Tuesday.
The Senate is slated to return to Washington on July 20, while extended unemployment relief is slated to end at the end of the month. The next Congressional recess starts on Aug. 10.
House Democrats passed a $3 trillion relief package in May that would extend the unemployment payments until next year, but the White House and GOP senators said it creates a disincentive for people to work. Some Republicans have suggested a “return to work” bonus.
Pelosi, in the interview with CNN, appeared to suggest that Democrats will push for extra unemployment benefits.
They are “needing their unemployment insurance, their direct payments, their assistance for rent and mortgage foreclosure, forbearance in terms of that,” she said. “And we need it for states and localities to be able to pay their employees who are meeting the needs of their constituents. And you know what, we need it to open the economy by testing, tracing, treating, isolating.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday in an interview with a local Kentucky station that Republicans will open negotiations with Democrats once they finish their own proposal for the stimulus package.
“We shouldn’t lightly add more to the national debt, but I’m predicting that we will have one more rescue package, which we’ll begin to debate and discuss next week,” McConnell said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) acknowledged on Monday that the recess could be pushed back.
“[W]e hope that the Senate will act quickly with long-overdue action on the Heroes Act or other legislation to address the impacts of COVID-19 so the House can respond by the end of the week of July 27. Regardless, the House will return, if needed, to do its job whenever required to help Americans get through this crisis,” Hoyer wrote in a letter, according to The Hill.
He added that it’s his “hope” the House can finish work on the stimulus package and other items “in a responsible and timely fashion.”
The White House has sought another CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus relief package, including direct payments.
”No decisions have been made, no formal negotiations yet,” Larry Kudlow, Trump’s chief economic adviser, told reporters.