As Democrats fret, Pelosi vows to act again on stim­u­lus plan before elec­tion

Miami Herald - - Nation -

Fac­ing grow­ing con­cern from mod­er­ate Democrats in com­pet­i­tive re­elec­tion races, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Cal­i­for­nia said Tues­day that the House would not leave for the Novem­ber elec­tions with­out act­ing on an ad­di­tional round of fed­eral aid to prop up the coro­n­avirus-rav­aged econ­omy.

The dec­la­ra­tion, com­ing more than a month after stim­u­lus talks be­tween top Democrats and the White House stalled, sug­gested that the po­lit­i­cal pres­sure to reach a com­pro­mise is mount­ing even as time is dwin­dling to de­liver such a deal.

“We have to stay here un­til we have a bill,” Pelosi pri­vately told law­mak­ers dur­ing a con­fer­ence call Tues­day morn­ing, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the re­marks. Shortly af­ter­ward, she re­peated the prom­ise in an in­ter­view on CNBC, say­ing, “We are com­mit­ted to stay­ing here un­til we have an agree­ment that meets the needs of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

Shortly after Pelosi’s dec­la­ra­tions on Tues­day, a group of 50 cen­trist Repub­li­cans and Democrats put for­ward a stim­u­lus pro­posal worth as much as $2 tril­lion that they said they hoped could shake up the stalled talks, but the plan was swiftly re­jected by se­nior Democrats who called it “a re­treat” from the party’s pri­or­i­ties.

It was un­clear, given the House’s un­usual pan­demicera vot­ing rules, what ex­actly Pelosi meant when she pledged to keep the cham­ber in ses­sion un­til there was a deal. It was un­likely that all 430-plus mem­bers of the House would stay in Wash­ing­ton past early Oc­to­ber, when they are sched­uled to re­turn to their dis­tricts for the fi­nal stretch of the cam­paign.

The prospects of any com­pro­mise re­mained long, and many law­mak­ers and aides on Capi­tol Hill have all but given up on pass­ing some­thing into law before the elec­tion. The bi­par­ti­san House Prob­lem Solvers Cau­cus’ plan was a last­ditch at­tempt to broach a com­pro­mise before Novem­ber’s elec­tions.

Aim­ing for a mid­dle ground be­tween Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic po­si­tions, the pro­posal in­cludes mea­sures that have bi­par­ti­san sup­port, like re­viv­ing the pop­u­lar Pay­check Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram for small busi­nesses and di­rect checks of $1,200 or more for Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers. But top Democrats is­sued a take­down of the plan.

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