WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — House Democrats were poised to vote Thursday on a new round of coronavirus stimulus aid that would include more unemployment benefits and help for city and state government.
Negotiations between House Democrats and the White House on the final details of the package have been rocky and getting Senate Republicans on board will be even tougher.
“We’ve had constructive conversations, Secretary Mnuchin and I,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
California Congresswoman Jackie Speier believes the aid is badly needed.
“People are hurting, they’re struggling with their rent, they’re struggling with food,” Speier said. “You’ve got first line workers, the essential workers who are exhausted and you still have nurses that are saying ‘we don’t have enough PPE.’”
The White House and Democratic lawmakers appear ready to spend about $2 trillion but the real challenge will be getting Senate Republicans on board.
“Republicans on the Senate side were at, something like $500 billion, $300 billion of which was left over from the CARES Act,” Speier said. “So it really wasn’t any kind of relief whatsoever.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says many Republicans can’t support another huge price tag.
“There’s lots of money still sitting out there that’s already appropriated, almost $1 trillion or more,” he said.
Utah Congresswoman John Curtis also takes issue with the specifics, like more federal unemployment benefits.
“We cannot get people back to work. We’re one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and they’re making more money staying home,” he said.