Pelosi: House will stay in session until agreement is reached on coronavirus relief

Posted 7 days ago

From THEHILL.COM

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday announced that the House will remain in session until the parties have an agreement on another round of emergency coronavirus relief.

In a conference call with the House Democratic Caucus — the first since the chamber returned from a long summer recess — Pelosi indicated she isn't willing to accept a "skinny" legislative package, but told her troops the chamber's calendar will be extended until an agreement is sealed, according to sources on the call.

“We have to stay here until we have a bill,” Pelosi told lawmakers.

The surprise development reflects both the severity of the public health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the growing pressure Pelosi is facing from the moderate wing of her party, which is clamoring for leadership to vote on another aid package before Congress leaves town again for the elections.

Leaders of the Blue Dog Democrats have, for weeks, pressed Pelosi and other party leaders to take up another relief bill pre-election. On Monday, leaders of the New Democrat Coalition piled on, warning that lawmakers in battleground districts could be particularly harmed by congressional inaction. And leaders of the Problem Solvers, a bipartisan group, are set Tuesday morning to unveil a new aid package topping $1.5 trillion.

“We are not in any way attempting to undermine the Speaker's negotiating positions,” Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N. H.), a member of the New Democrats, said Monday evening. “Having said that we are taking the position that we want a deal and we don't think we should adjourn until we have it."

Pelosi on Tuesday said she agreed, vowing to extend the House’s initial recess date of Oct. 2 if the sides haven’t reached a deal beforehand.

“We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement,” she told CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

What such an agreement looks like — or whether it’s even possible — remains unclear. Pelosi and the Democrats had passed a $3.4 trillion relief package through the House in May, and the Speaker has since offered to bring the price tag down to $2.2 trillion. But both proposals were roundly rejected by the White House and Republicans in the Senate, who were calling for legislation in the $1 trillion range.

Highlighting just how far apart the sides are, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell... (Read more)