(C) Bloomberg. The U.S. Capitol stands in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The Senate has scheduled a late afternoon session Tuesday in anticipation of approving an agreement on a nearly $500 billion stimulus bill, including $310 billion to replenish the small business program. Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) — House Democrats proposed a $3 trillion virus relief bill Tuesday, combining aid to state and local governments with direct cash payments, expanded unemployment insurance and food stamp spending as well as a list of progressive priorities like funds for voting by mail and the troubled U.S. Postal Service.
The bill comes after Congress has already spent $3 trillion on four bills in response to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can’t remember a point in our history where we shut down the economy of our country,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday. “As a result we need to respond in unprecedented ways with unprecedented resources.”
While there is is little chance of the aid package gaining Senate approval and President Donald Trump’s signature as written, passage in the Democratic-led House gives House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a marker to set down at the same time both parties are positioning themselves for congressional elections less than six months away.
The legislation, which is slated for a House vote on Friday, is the opening bid in negotiations with the Trump administration and Senate Republicans.
It may take into June before any new deal is struck. No formal negotiations have taken place since the last relief bill was passed, though Trump chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow has said he’s talking with lawmakers of both parties on priorities.
Trump said last week he’s in “no rush” to get another aid package, but last week’s jobs report that showed employers cut 20.5 million jobs in April, and statements from the president’s economic advisers that the unemployment rate will hit 20% or more, are certain to add urgency to talks.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday dismissed the bill as a “big laundry list of pet priorities” on Tuesday.
Among it’s provisions, the bill would provide almost $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments and $1,200 cash payments to individuals and $1,200 for dependent children. It also would extend a $600 weekly increase to unemployment insurance into next January.
(C)2020 Bloomberg L.P.
House Democrats Propose $3 Trillion Pandemic Relief Plan
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