Pelosi seeking at least $1 trillion for next virus bill

Coronavirus
Nancy Pelosi

FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2020, file photo, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. President Donald Trump and Pelosi have not spoken in five months at a time when the nation is battling its worst health crisis in a century. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) β€” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that another $1 trillion is needed for the next coronavirus rescue package.

Pelosi told House Democrats on an afternoon conference call that the current aid to Americans is not enough, according to a person unauthorized to discuss the call and granted anonymity.

Congress is considering more aid after passing a sweeping $2.2 trillion health care and economic package last month, the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

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 U.S. economy toward a recession.

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

The former Fed chair also told them the nation’s unemployment rate is now at least 13% and this week’s jobless report will show higher numbers than last week’s.

The earlier relief package, approved in late March, included one-time $1,200 direct payments to Americans, along with forgivable small business loans for companies to keep making payroll. It also included a boost of unemployment pay, money for hospitals and a $500 billion fund for bigger corporations and industries.

But Pelosi said the direct payments to Americans and the payroll protection program for small businesses are not enough and more needs to be done, the person said.

Pelosi also said there needs to be more aid through the supplemental nutrition program, also known as food stamps.

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

Both the House and Senate are adjourned through mid-April as the nation shuts down to grapple with the global pandemic.

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