WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – It’s been months since Congress passed a coronavirus relief package and as we’re seeing another spike in COVID cases, negotiations over a new package are heating up.
Two months after the House passed the HEROES Act, Democrats are still pressuring Republicans to take up the $3 trillion COVID relief package.
“How many times have we had to say in the course of this pandemic, we are at a critical moment? We really are at an even more critical moment now,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said.
Speaker Pelosi says with cases spiking nationwide, Congress must fund more testing, support local and state governments, and infuse cash directly into Americans’ hands.
“There is an answer. There’s a plan, the resources are designated in an appropriate way,” Pelosi said.
But that plan has run into Republican opposition.
Speaker Pelosi says the baseline for negotiation should still be the HEROES Act, but some Republicans say another stimulus package may not even be necessary.
“I’m not at all sure that we absolutely need one right now. The states can fill in the gap to a large extent,” Representative Andy Harris, R-Maryland, said.
Maryland Republican Andy Harris says if there is another stimulus package, Republicans will push to reduce the amount Americans receive in unemployment bonuses.
“Not allowing anyone to collect more than one hundred percent of what they’d earned,” Harris said.
In addition to reducing those benefits, Republicans say any deal must include liability protections for small businesses.
“Those are two key provisions,” Representative Steve Womack, R-Arkansas, said.
Arkansas Republican Steve Womack says Congress should start negotiations over and leave the HEROES Act behind.
“Not a good negotiating bill,” Womack said.
Pelosi says the House will cancel its August recess if a deal isn’t reached before then.