House Democrats Won’t Vote on Stimulus Proposal Before Friday
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, wears a protective mask at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg)

House Democrats Won’t Vote on Stimulus Proposal Before Friday

(Bloomberg) -- House Democrats are still drafting their plan for another round of economic stimulus, legislation that could top $2 trillion, but the bill won’t be ready for a vote before Friday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told fellow Democrats on a private conference call that the legislation was still being drawn up from proposals submitted by rank and file members last week, according to lawmakers and aides. With House lawmakers away from Washington, the earliest possible vote would be Friday, and that schedule could slip into the next week.

The centerpiece of the Democrats’ virus relief plan is almost $1 trillion in to aid state and local governments. It’s also likely to include another round of cash payments to individuals following up on the $1,200 most people received from a March stimulus bill. Also under discussion are expanded unemployment benefits, money for Covid-19 testing, food stamp funding, rental assistance and student loan forgiveness.

Democrats have been debating among themselves for weeks about the contents of the legislation, with more moderate members arguing for a smaller bill with a more realistic chance of passage in the divided Congress and progressives seeking to use the bill to showcase plans to expand health insurance and climate change policies.

An expansive bill has little chance of getting Senate approval and President Donald Trump’s signature as drafted. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been saying there’s no need to rush another stimulus until the effects of the last bill can be evaluated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, working with Senate Democrats, has been advocating a massive aid package to get the economy restarted. “Among the provisions are, yes, there are state and local governments, to address the outlays they have made in fighting the coronavirus as well as the revenue they have lost because of the coronavirus,” she told MSNBC on Monday night.

She added that extra money was being considered for people have gone to work during the pandemic. “There is an interest in doing hazard pay for those on the front line,” Pelosi said, without going into further detail.

“Speaker Pelosi and I agree, the bill should be big and it should be bold,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor earlier Monday, warning of a second Great Depression without more stimulus. “Now is not the time for timidity”

In addition to voting on the stimulus legislation, Hoyer told Democrats they would be voting on rules changes to permit members to cast proxy votes for colleagues, and allow remote committee work.

When the stimulus legislation and the rules changes are brought to the House floor for votes, Hoyer told members the process probably will take most of that day as health precautions will continue to be in place.

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