Pelosi on new aid package: ‘We’re close’
She said businesses will have their relief in a “timely fashion.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers were very close to an agreement on more coronavirus aid, which includes replenishing a recently exhausted small business relief fund.
“We’re close,” Pelosi said in an intereview that aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “Again, we have common ground … I think we’re very close to agreement.”
The Small Business Administration on Thursday announced the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program wouldn’t accept any more applications, shutting out thousands of potential borrowers looking for aid during the pandemic.
Pelosi said businesses will have their relief in a “timely fashion,” but also noted, “We know that we have an opportunity and an urgency to do something for our hospitals, our teachers, and firefighters, and the rest right now. And then we are preparing for our next bill.”
Congress has faced pressure to pass PPP funding unanimously, as soon as possible. That pressure has mounted with reports that more than 22 million Americans have lost their jobs over four weeks. But Democrats want some of the money to be set aside for communities with few banking institutions. And they’ve pushed for more money for state governments, local governments and hospitals.
After a partisan standoff, said Saturday that notable progress had been made on brokering a tentative deal. The terms center on $250 billion or more for the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as roughly $75 billion for hospitals.
Over the last 48 hours, President Donald Trump drove home an attack in a series of tweets and retweets: Pelosi and “Do Nothing Democrats” have cost Americans jobs by blocking new PPP funds.
On Sunday, Pelosi brushed his comments aside: “I don’t pay that much attention to the president’s tweets against me. As I’ve said, he’s a poor leader. He’s always trying to avoid responsibility and assign blame.”
She called the president’s embrace of opening up the country quickly a distraction from the fact that Trump did not act appropriately on testing, treatment, contact tracing and quarantine.
Pelosi said everything Congress has done on pandemic relief, the three bills put forward in March, were bipartisan — and bipartisan is how things will stay.
She is open to the idea of proxy voting, a change suggested by House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) that would be temporary and likely only apply to emergency coronavirus legislation. Pelosi said there would need to be a vote to change House rules, which should also be done in a bipartisan fashion.
“We have a template. We’ve done it once. We can do it again.”