House Democrats roll out $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, eye vote by end of week


House Democrats unveiled their opening bid Tuesday in the next debate on Capitol Hill over how to fight the coronavirus and revive the economy, a sweeping bill set to be voted at the end of the week.

The 1,815-page bill, dubbed the “HEROES Act” by Democrats, was projected to cost a little over $3 trillion as of Tuesday morning, according to a House Democratic aide. It includes bolstering the direct payments program put in place in the $1.8 trillion coronavirus bill passed in late March, additional monies for state and local governments and extending the expiration date for some unemployment benefits related to the pandemic.

The bill is expected to meet with a chilly reception in the Senate, where Republicans have said they’re in no hurry move on another bill soon and are focused on protecting business owners from litigation by workers or customers when establishments reopen.

“American workers don’t need Washington to inflict some far-left extreme makeover on the country. They need us to get rid of obstacles that might stand in their way,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.

President Donald Trump was set to meet with Senate Republicans late Tuesday afternoon.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the bill will reflect a “think big” approach.

In touting the bill as Democratic leaders worked with members to craft it, Pelosi has made no apologies for its size. In a letter to members Sunday night that referenced Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell, the California Democrat wrote, “The Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank has told us to ‘Think Big’ because interest rates are so low. We must ‘Think Big’ For The People now, because if we don’t, it will cost more later. Not acting is the most expensive course.”

In an interview on MSNBC Monday night, Pelosi said the state and local aid was meant to offset losses from extra spending locally to fight the coronavirus as well as revenues lost due to the shutdown.

She also said the bill will try to get money into workers’ pockets through both jobless benefits and by simply giving them cash. “We have the unemployment insurance that will be renewed in this legislation, as well as cash payments, the direct payments. People are craving that.”

Republican senators said they felt no increased pressure to act legislatively because of the Democrats’ bill.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said Monday, “It sounds like it’s going to be a $4 or $5 trillion piece of legislation, which has everything but the kitchen sink in there. So I think it’s not a serious effort to negotiate a bill that actually has a chance of passing, so I don’t feel like that in and of itself increases the sense of urgency.”

There is one area of possible bipartisanship in the bill: studying how to move at least some of U.S.’ critical supply chain components from relying on China. Pelosi said in an interview Sunday there would be a supply chain initiative and the White House has been interested in the issue as well as it has blamed China for not being more forthcoming about the early spread of the virus.

“Whether we’re talking about therapy, or we’re talking about a vaccine, a lot of the ingredients come from China,” she said.

Source : MTV