Bloomberg reports congress‘s next stimulus bill to prop up the U.S. economy during the coronavirus crisis will be at least another $1 trillion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats on a private conference call.
The next stimulus package would be focused on replenishing funds for programs established in Congress’s $2.2 trillion virus relief bill signed into law last month, according to people on the call.
Pelosi said there should be additional direct payments to individuals, extended unemployment insurance, more resources for food stamps and more funds for the Payroll Protection Plan that provides loans to small businesses, lawmakers on the call said.
Pelosi also said the bill should assist state and local governments, with an emphasis on smaller municipalities with fewer than 500,000 residents, one lawmaker said.
Pelosi has said she wants the next stimulus bill to be passed this month. The House isn’t scheduled to be back in session until April 20 at the earliest.
It is possible to pass legislation with most members out of town, as long as no one objects.
Per TheHill, “We’re not going to be doing, in the name of an emergency, items unrelated to the emergency,” McConnell told Fox News Radio when asked about talk of a “phase four” bill.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) backed up McConnell, telling reporters that while Pelosi “is trying to talk about a fourth bill, I don’t think that is appropriate at this time.”
Some rank-and-file GOP senators say they are already informally discussing a fourth bill as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is expected to skyrocket in the coming weeks. As of Friday evening, there were about 274,000 cases in the United States and more than 7,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
But even as senators say they are having behind-the-scenes talks, Pelosi and McConnell have spent days trading barbs through the media.
McConnell, in one of several interviews, told Pelosi to “stand down” and argued that she was trying to “jam” Senate Republicans.
Pelosi later pointed to the GOP leader’s rhetoric, as well as a separate war of words between Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), calling it “chicken feed.”
“You can’t pay attention to that stuff,” Pelosi told reporters. “They’re playing to their base.”