Mar 10, 2020 - Health

Pelosi: New coronavirus relief package may be ready this week

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday

Nancy Pelosi during a news conference on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Monday that a second economic relief package to combat the coronavirus outbreak could be introduced as soon as this week.

The big picture: The package, outlined by Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Sunday, is an alternative plan to President Trump's economic proposal that would include a payroll tax cut and relief for hourly workers, which the top Democrats criticized for focusing on the stock market, rather than the outbreak.

  • Pelosi said the plan "may be ready" to vote on this week. How quickly the Democrats could get their plan ready would depend on the Congressional Budget Office, the legislative counsel and how quickly they could get costing to them. The Democrats "can introduce [it] this week," she said.
  • If it's not ready, she plans to wait until after recess as she's been given no reason to return early "from our CAO, from our Sergeant at Arms, our Attending Physician or any of that." She said they could condense recess "if there's a necessity — if we think we’re going to get some action in the Senate to do it."

Zoom in: The Democrats are seeking measures that include paid sick leave for those impacted by COVID-19, widespread and free coronavirus testing access, the expansion of programs such as SNAP food stamps, and reimbursement to patients for noncovered costs related to the virus.

The other side: Trump said in a tweet early Monday, "The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant. Surgeon General, 'The risk is low to the average American.'"

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