In the wake of last month’s election, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have taken a renewed look at a second COVID-19 relief package.
After signaling her support for a slimmed-down proposal backed by a bipartisan group of legislators, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) denounced as “unacceptable” President Donald Trump’s attempt to streamline the bill even further.
“Starts by cutting the unemployment insurance”
In a statement released this week, Pelosi slammed the president for potentially derailing the compromise bill from its path to becoming law.
“While it is progress that [Senate Majority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer that is based off of the bipartisan framework, the President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway,” she asserted.
Specifically, she denounced his efforts to slash the funding available for unemployment insurance, which is a fund many Democrats wish to push increasingly higher.
“The President’s proposal starts by cutting the unemployment insurance proposal being discussed by bipartisan Members of the House and Senate from $180 billion to $40 billion,” Pelosi wrote. “That is unacceptable.”
The speaker is one of several Democrats who expressed concern after receiving the Trump administration’s proposal modifying the bill on Tuesday evening.
What’s included in the compromise package
Trump did show an effort to compromise on one major item, proposing a second stimulus check of $600 per individual instead of the $1,200 payments initially favored by Democrats.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the $908 billion bipartisan bill was first presented earlier this month and is set to be attached to a government spending bill that must be passed in short order to avoid another government shutdown.
The issue of stimulus checks remains up in the air, but the original proposal does provide additional unemployment insurance along with new protections against eviction.
Additional funding included in the compromise would restart the Paycheck Protection Program, providing thousands of U.S. businesses an opportunity to stay afloat amid ongoing COVID-19 lockdown measures.
Democrats in both chambers of Congress have signaled their willingness to pass a new relief bill in the hopes that a more robust package will be available if Democratic nominee Joe Biden takes office next year.