Pelosi Seeks ‘Major’ State Aid, Setting Up Clash With McConnell

(Bloomberg) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a “major package” of aid for state and local government will be in the next stimulus legislation considered by Congress, setting up a conflict with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who is urging a slowdown in doling out federal help.

The $484 billion aid plan set for passage by the House on Thursday is an “interim” step to mitigate some of the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, Pelosi said Wednesday on Bloomberg Television.

“Now we have to go further to help state and local” governments, she said, without putting a price tag on the aid.

Although President Donald Trump said Tuesday he favored aid for states, McConnell has said any funds for states and municipalities should be reviewed carefully.

“We’re going to push the pause button here, because I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated,” McConnell said Wednesday on Hugh Hewitt’s syndicated radio program.

In the Bloomberg Television interview, Pelosi dismissed any concern about McConnell’s remarks, and she defended Democrats’ decision to back down from their initial call to include state and local funding in the interim bill awaiting a House vote Thursday.

“Let me remind you, this is Mitch McConnell, who said on the floor of the Senate there is no way we will do anything but the $250 billion” to shore up a small business aid program, said Pelosi. “Now, we are up to $480” billion in this week’s bill.

“This is an interim bill,” she said, adding that “the president himself has said, he as tweeted out, that was last night, that he is ready to do state and local” in the next legislation.

More generally, Pelosi said she isn’t concerned that emergency funding might not get to states, localities and other areas where it should.

“We will have a bright light shining on this,” Pelosi said, citing the oversight commission that was part of the earlier $2 trillion measure. In addition, the House on Thursday is set to vote on creating a special committee to oversee how coronavirus funds are used.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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