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