House Spokesperson Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a briefing to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington on September 10, 2020.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
House Democrats are preparing a new, smaller coronavirus aid package that is expected to cost around $ 2.4 trillion if they try to push talks with the Trump administration, a source familiar with the plans said Thursday.
The bill would include improved unemployment insurance, direct payments to Americans, funding for small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, and assistance to airlines, among other things, the person said. To reach the price, Democrats would cut around $ 1 trillion from their previous proposal for a fifth pandemic relief plan.
The party plans to resume business negotiations with the White House after talks fell apart last month. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to add another $ 1.3 trillion to the government's offer of around $ 1.3 trillion.
According to Politico, Pelosi directed the leaders of the Democratic Committee to draft laws, the first to report on plans to draft another law. The house could vote on a bill as early as next week, but the Democrats haven't yet decided on a plan, the outlet reported.
Democrats and Republicans have not agreed on more aid to combat the health and economic damage from the crisis, even after an additional $ 600 per week unemployment benefit, federal eviction moratorium and time window for applying for PPP loans expired. Hopes for more legislation faded in recent weeks as Republicans held back from spending and election year politics infiltrated the process.
The House Democrats passed their $ 3 trillion aid package in May. Earlier this month, Senate Democrats blocked a Republican plan worth around $ 500 billion.
The GOP put together a reduced bill after a roughly $ 1 trillion measure it released in July failed to result in a bipartisan breakthrough.
Debate over a proposal comes when concerns grow about the potential for economic recovery in the United States, compounded by the trillions of bailouts that have passed Congress this year. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, among other economic experts, has warned that the economy could take a hit without further fiscal stimulus.
While the US posted strong employment growth for several months after coronavirus-related stalls led to widespread layoffs, the national unemployment rate was still 8.4% when it was last measured in August. On Thursday, the Department of Labor said that initial jobless claims rose slightly to 870,000 last week.
The elections on November 3rd naturally included in the legislature's calculations whether more aid should be given and how it should be structured. Vulnerable Senate Republicans and House Democrats have pushed for concrete measures to campaign to show voters as both parties try to maintain their majorities.
With Pelosi repeatedly saying it would only pass a comprehensive pandemic relief plan, some House Democrats have pushed for more targeted legislation to be passed.
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