Pelosi: House to stay in session until COVID-19 rescue pact

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday the House will remain in session until lawmakers deliver another round of COVID-19 relief, a move that came as Democrats from swing districts signaled discontent with a standoff that could force them to face voters without delivering more aid.

“We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement, an agreement that meets the needs of the American people,” Pelosi said on CNBC.


Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues on a morning conference call that “we have to stay here until we have a bill.” That’s according to a Democratic aide speaking on condition of anonymity but authorized to quote her remarks.

The move highlighted the extent to which coronavirus legislation has settled into a kind of suspended animation in the final legislative weeks before the November election. Both parties insist they want action, keeping the idea of new relief alive, but negotiations between Democrats and the White House remain frozen, with both sides entrenched in their positions.



Pelosi’s comments came as moderate Democrats, many from areas won by President Donald Trump four years ago, signed on to a $1.5 trillion rescue package endorsed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of about 50 lawmakers who seek common solutions to issues.


The plan contains many elements of COVID rescue packages devised by both House Democrats and Republicans controlling the Senate, including aid to schools, funding for state and local governments, and renewal of lapsed COVID-related jobless benefits.


The price tag is significantly less than the $2.2 trillion figure cited by Pelosi but it’s also well above an approximately $650 billion Senate GOP plan that failed last week due to Democratic opposition.

Talks between Pelosi and the Trump administration broke down last month and there had been little optimism they would rekindle before Election Day. And last week, Senate Democrats scuttled a scaled-back GOP coronavirus rescue package.

Pelosi has maintained a hard line in negotiations and has been at odds with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. She orchestrated passage of a $3.4 trillion COVID rescue package back in May, but the effort was immediately dismissed by Senate Republicans and the Trump administration.


Tuesday’s remarks, said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill, don’t mean that the speaker is adopting a more flexible position. She instead seems to be signaling

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Pelosi: House to stay in session

Speaker says they won’t leave until agreement on more aid approved

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Washington

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday the House will remain in session until lawmakers deliver another round of COVID-19 relief, a move that came as Democrats from swing districts signaled discontent with a standoff that could force them to face voters without delivering more aid.

“We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement, an agreement that meets the needs of the American people,” Pelosi said on CNBC.


Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues on a morning conference call that “we have to stay here until we have a bill.” That’s according to a Democratic aide speaking on condition of anonymity but authorized to quote her remarks.

The move highlighted the extent to which coronavirus legislation has settled into a kind of suspended animation in the final legislative weeks before the November election. Both parties insist they want action, keeping the idea of new relief alive, but negotiations between Democrats and the White House remain frozen, with both sides entrenched in their positions.



Pelosi’s comments came as moderate Democrats, many from areas won by President Donald Trump four years ago, signed on to a $1.5 trillion rescue package endorsed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of about 50 lawmakers who seek common solutions to issues.


The plan contains many elements of COVID rescue packages devised by both House Democrats and Republicans controlling the Senate, including aid to schools, funding for state and local governments, and renewal of lapsed COVID-related jobless benefits.


The price tag is significantly less than the $2.2 trillion figure cited by Pelosi but it’s also well above an approximately $650 billion Senate GOP plan that failed last week due to Democratic opposition.

Talks between Pelosi and the Trump administration broke down last month and there had been little optimism they would rekindle before Election Day. And last week, Senate Democrats scuttled a scaled-back GOP coronavirus

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Pelosi: House will stay in session until agreement is reached on coronavirus relief

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump order on drug prices faces long road to finish line Overnight Defense: Dems divided on length of stopgap spending measure | Afghan envoy agrees to testify before House panel | Trump leans into foreign policy in campaign’s final stretch Pence seeks to boost Daines in critical Montana Senate race MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday announced that the House will remain in session until the parties have an agreement on another round of emergency coronavirus relief. 

In a conference call with the House Democratic Caucus — the first since the chamber returned from a long summer recess — Pelosi indicated she isn’t willing to accept a “skinny” legislative package, but told her troops the chamber’s calendar will be extended until an agreement is sealed, according to sources on the call. 

“We have to stay here until we have a bill,” Pelosi told lawmakers.

The surprise development reflects both the severity of the public health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the growing pressure Pelosi is facing from the moderate wing of her party, which is clamoring for leadership to vote on another aid package before Congress leaves town again for the elections.

The practical effects of the announcement, however, will likely be slight.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerRaces heat up for House leadership posts Hillicon Valley: Election officials prepare for new Russian interference battle | ‘Markeyverse’ of online fans helps take down a Kennedy | GOP senators unveil bill to update tech liability protections Google, Apple, eBay to meet virtually with lawmakers for tech group’s annual fly-in MORE (D-Md.) acknowledged that most lawmakers will likely return to their districts when the scheduled session ends on Oct. 2, leaving party leaders seeking to hash out an agreement with the White House. If such a deal emerges, then members would be called back to Washington. In that sense, the dynamics would look very similar to those surrounding the long August recess, when the Capitol was all but empty.

“You could look at it as a distinction without a difference of the last few months,” Hoyer said on a press call. “But in another sense it tells members, ‘Look, we know the election’s coming up, we know you want to go back and campaign. But understand this is a priority … and that we are going to address it as soon as we possibly can.’ ” 

Leaders of the Blue Dog Democrats have, for weeks, pressed Pelosi and other party leaders to take up another relief bill preelection. On Monday, leaders of the New Democrat Coalition piled on, warning that lawmakers in battleground districts could be particularly harmed by congressional inaction. And leaders of the Problem Solvers, a bipartisan group, are set Tuesday morning to unveil a new aid package topping $1.5 trillion. 

“We are not in any way attempting to undermine the Speaker’s negotiating positions,” Rep. Ann KusterAnn McLane KusterLawmakers press CDC for guidance on celebrating Halloween during pandemic Chinese tech giants

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House to stay in session until COVID-19 rescue pact

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday the House will remain in session until lawmakers deliver another round of COVID-19 relief.



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, walks to her office, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


© Provided by Associated Press
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, walks to her office, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues on a morning conference call that “we have to stay here until we have a bill.” That’s according to a Democratic aide speaking on condition of anonymity but authorized to quote her remarks.

Pelosi’s comments came as moderate Democrats signed on to a $1.5 trillion rescue package endorsed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of about 50 lawmakers who seek common solutions to issues.

The plan contains many elements of COVID rescue packages devised by both House Democrats and Republicans controlling the Senate, including aid to schools, funding for state and local governments, and renewal of lapsed COVID-related jobless benefits.



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., walks to her office, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


© Provided by Associated Press
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., walks to her office, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Talks between Pelosi and the Trump administration broke down last month and there had been little optimism they would rekindle before Election Day. And last week, Senate Democrats scuttled a scaled-back GOP coronavirus rescue package.



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, walks to her office, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


© Provided by Associated Press
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, walks to her office, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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Pelosi says House will stay in session until new deal reached on economic relief

The House is scheduled to adjourn at the end of this month until after the election. Bipartisan talks on a new relief measure collapsed last month and have not been revived, leading to speculation that Congress and the administration will be unable to reach a bipartisan accord before Election Day.

White House adviser Jared Kushner suggested in an interview on CNBC Tuesday that a deal might have to wait.

“The hope is we’ll still get to a deal. It may have to be after the election,” Kushner said.

The two sides have been far apart. On Tuesday’s call Pelosi also rejected the notion of a slimmed-down or “skinny” bill such as the $300 billion measure Democrats blocked last week in the Senate.

“A skinny bill is not a deal. It’s a Republican bill,” she said on the conference call.

Pelosi has continued to hold out for legislation with a pricetag of at least $2 trillion that would include generous aid for cities and states, as well as unemployment and nutrition assistance, stimulus checks for individual Americans, money for coronavirus testing and tracing, help for the Post Office and elections, and more.

But with Republicans unwilling to agree to such expensive legislation, some Democrats have begun to discuss other options.

The centrist-leaning New Democrat Coalition, whose members include multiple freshman lawmakers in tough re-election fights, held a conference call on Monday night to emphasize the need for action before Congress adjourns for the recess. Lawmakers in the group said they supported Pelosi and wanted a good bill, but also suggested that action to extend unemployment insurance and a few other aid programs would be better than nothing.

The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the House released their own attempted compromise Tuesday morning, a $1.5 trillion proposal that could grow larger or smaller depending on infection rates and vaccine progress.

Congress passed four bills totaling about $3 trillion in aid in March and April, but has not acted since. The House passed another $3.4 trillion bill in May, but Senate Republicans and the administration held off on restarting negotiations until July. Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) held multiple hours of talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows but ultimately got nowhere.

Meanwhile many of the programs agreed to in the initial round of spending have expired, including a $600 weekly enhanced unemployment benefit that ran out July 31. President Trump stepped in last month with some limited executive actions, including replacing the $600 benefit with one half that size, but the money for that is now expiring.

Some 30 million Americans are currently relying on some type of unemployment assistance. Others face the prospect of homelessness or poverty, and state and municipal coffers are running dry because of the drop in tax revenue, which has already led to mass layoffs.

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Pelosi wants House to stay in session until COVID deal reached

Washington — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a call with Democratic members on Tuesday that she wants the House to stay in session until a deal is reached on a coronavirus relief bill, and reiterated her intentions in an interview with CNBC.

“I just got off the call with my colleagues. We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement, an agreement that meets the needs of the American people,” Pelosi told CNBC.

The House reconvened this week, nearly two months after talks broke down between congressional Democrats and White House officials over a new relief bill. The House passed its own $3 trillion bill in May, but Senate Republicans have refused to consider this proposal. Senate Democrats also blocked Republican efforts to pass a slimmed-down relief bill in the Senate last week.

Congressional Democrats and White House officials were unable to agree on a price tag for the next relief bill after weeks of negotiations in July. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said they were willing to lower their proposal to $2 trillion, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows argued that Democrats wanted to include too many provisions that they felt were unrelated to the pandemic.

Both chambers of Congress recessed in August, after a popular enhanced unemployment benefit providing an extra $600 per week expired at the end of July. The benefit was established as part of the CARES Act, which passed in March. President Trump signed executive orders in August aimed at lessening the economic impact of the pandemic by providing a smaller unemployment benefit on top of weekly unemployment insurance if states are able to implement it.

Meanwhile, the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus is expected to unveil its own coronavirus relief plan on Tuesday. It is unclear whether this proposal will receive support in the Senate.

Congress must also agree on a package to fund the government before funding expires at the end of September. 

Kimberly Brown contributed reporting.

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