House Democrats worry pre-election schedule lacks coronavirus relief

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far resisted calls for another House vote, arguing that Democrats shouldn’t do anything to undermine the priorities they passed in the $3.4 trillion package. The California Democrat has said Democrats are willing to comprise by moving up expiration dates to cut the cost to $2.2 trillion, but they’re not willing to budge on the scope of relief.

“We all know that we need to come to agreement,” Pelosi said Monday on MSNBC. “Coming to agreement is not, though, to say, ‘What’s the least we can do?  Let’s ignore the states. Let’s ignore the need for the testing. Let’s ignore the hunger. Let’s ignore the evictions.’”

As some Democrats pushed for additional House action during a biweekly caucus call last Thursday, Pelosi warned her members against falling for Republicans’ calls for a narrower package and told them not to be a “cheap date,” according to a source on the call who requested anonymity to describe the private discussion.

The 50-member bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, comprised of centrists in both parties, on Tuesday is releasing a $1.5 trillion bipartisan relief proposal the group has endorsed, which requires support from 75 percent of its members. The proposal stakes out compromise positions on two key sticking points, with $500 billion for state and local governments and an initial extension of federal enhanced unemployment benefits at $450 per week, but does not meet the bar Pelosi has set for a deal.

‘Some form of action’

Rank-and-file members have been careful not to question Pelosi’s negotiating strategy as they’ve started to go public with their calls for another coronavirus relief vote.

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