After more than a month of stalled talks, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have agreed to resume discussions about the next coronavirus relief bill to help Americans amid the pandemic.
On Thursday, Mnuchin told the Senate Banking Committee that he has spoken to Pelosi about 15 to 20 times in the past couple of days. The discussions centered around the Continuing Resolution (CR) which aimed to provide additional funding for the government that would last until the end of the year.
New coronavirus relief package?
According to Fox Business, the Treasury secretary added that he has spoken with the House speaker about the CARES Act. Speaker Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that she was expecting talks with the White House will be resumed shortly, saying she soon hopes they will be able to gather around one table soon.
The comments from both officials come amid rising tensions whether another round of emergency relief funds will be given to American workers and families suffering through the coronavirus pandemic.
While both Democrats and Republicans agree on a general level that a COVID-19 relief package should be a priority, politicians have had difficulties deciding on the amount that should be distributed.
Democrats have agreed to settle for a $2.2 trillion bill, down from their initial proposal of about $3 trillion included in the HEROES Act. The legislation was passed by the House in May and includes the extension of unemployment benefits and the second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
However, Republicans have been skeptical and wanted to limit the bill to a fund of $1 trillion. The decision is due to some officials fearing that country's growing deficit which is expected to hit a staggering $3.3 trillion before the end of the year.
The inclusions of the next coronavirus relief bill are expected to be a second stimulus check, assistance for local and state governments, airlines, and small businesses.
The legislation would also provide rental assistance, an extension of unemployment benefits, and financial support for the Postal Service and election security, as reported by Forbes.
Pelosi's sudden change of mind is a result of some Democrats agreeing to pass a skinnier bill, arguing the growing need of Americans of a new relief package. More than 100 House Democrats signed letters last week addressed to the House speaker, urging her to move forward with the relief bill negotiations.
One of the letters was from Representative Cindy Axne of Iowa, where she urged the House speaker to propose a simplified and straightforward COVID-19 relief bill. This week, Axen began collecting signatures from various lawmakers for a second letter to Pelosi that says Americans cannot wait any longer and are in dire need of support.
According to CNBC, Pelosi guided Democratic committee chairs to draft legislation. Reports say that as soon as next week, The House could begin voting on a new coronavirus relief bill. However, Democrats do not yet have a plan in mind.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during a congressional testimony this week that the previous CARES Act was able to provide support to Americans by giving them much-needed money and helping them keep their homes. He added, however, that more support is needed moving forward as the COVID-19 virus continues to rampage around the world.
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