US Congress, White House reach high for next coronavirus bill - GulfToday

US Congress, White House reach high for next coronavirus bill

Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a TV programme. File photo

Congressional leaders are jolting ahead with another coronavirus rescue package as President Donald Trump indicated on Monday that Americans will need more aid during the stark pandemic and economic shutdown.


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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said another $1 trillion is needed, beyond the just-passed $2.2 trillion effort. She wants another round of direct payments to Americans and more money for companies to keep making payroll. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said in recent days that health care should top the list, signaling his intent to get to work on a new bill.

"We’re going to take good care of our people,” Trump said Monday at his daily White House briefing. "It was not their fault.”

Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media. File photo

It's a rare sign of emerging consensus as Washington responds to the public health emergency and severe economic fallout that is ransacking communities nationwide, a crisis on par with a war effort or the Great Depression.

The contours of the package are still being debated and any votes in Congress remain a logistical conundrum. The House and Senate adjourned for most of the month, as part of strict stay-at-home orders from public health officials to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.

On an afternoon conference call with House Democrats, Pelosi told lawmakers at least another $1 trillion would be needed, according to a person unauthorized to discuss the call and granted anonymity.

The California Democrat has vowed to put the next package together in time for a House vote this month.

Former Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen joined the private call and warned Democrats the economic fallout will depend on the public health response to the pandemic, the person said. As businesses shutter to stop the virus’ spread, it has hurled the US economy toward a recession.

Yellen said it was impossible to know how deep and long the recession would be, and added that it would depend on the health response.

Associated Press

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