House Democrats are developing a new scaled-back stimulus proposal in an attempt to break the months-long partisan deadlock over another round of relief.
The proposal, currently being assembled by House committee chairs, is expected to be roughly $2.4 trillion—a compromise between the $1 trillion Republican-proposed HEALS Act and $3 trillion Democrat-proposed HEROES Act. The fresh measure is the first sign of movement toward a compromise deal after at least six weeks of stalled-negotiations amid a pandemic that has left millions of Americans in desperate need of aid.
“When you are talking about $2.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion you are in deal-making territory” Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan said.
Pelosi told Democratic leaders that the bill would include another round of direct payments, small-business loan funding, help for restaurants and the domestic airline industry. According to Politico, which first reported on plans for the new bill, Pelosi has indicated that the House could vote on the proposal as early as next week without Republican support.
Democratic Congressman Richard Neal of Massachusetts, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, confirmed Pelosi’s plan on Thursday, saying that it might happen before the upcoming October recess. “I think the contours are already there,” he said of the package. “I think it’s now about [the] time frame and things like that.”
Republicans have criticized the proposal as a non-starter, indicating that it would likely die in the Senate, but some Democrats are still hopeful. “Cautious optimism, my friend,” Congressman Max Rose of New York told Newsweek. “Cautious optimism.”
“This is an effort to actually reach a deal,” Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island told Newsweek. “Whether it will cause an actual vote I think is less significant than putting forth clear evidence that we are serious about negotiations and serious about compromise.”
While the price tag is smaller, the new package is expected to include many of the same elements as the HEALS Act. Pelosi declined to provide additional details of the plan on Thursday, but told reporters that “we’re ready for a negotiation.”
Her remarks come amid growing pressure from moderate Democrats who have called for something to be done about stimulus aid for Americans before D.C. adjourns next week—although lawmakers could still be called back for a vote.
Vulnerable Democrats on Thursday circulated a letter addressed to Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland that called for the passing of “a compromise bill before the election that is reasonable and that can be signed into law by the President of the United States.”
Newsweek reached out to Pelosi’s office for additional information.
As Americans grow increasingly frustrated, both sides of the political aisle have continued to blame each other for their failure to pass another stimulus legislation. Democrats have criticized the GOP for providing insufficient funding and Republicans have accused Democrats of using the pandemic to further their political agenda.
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