President Donald Trump made his case for his plan to address economic turmoil in the wake of the coronavirus in a nationally televised speech from the Oval Office on Wednesday, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced the Democrats’ Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
But Republicans in the House and Senate are balking over Pelosi’s plan:
Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi’s first draft from late last night was off-base. It does not focus immediate relief on affected Americans. It proposes new bureaucracy that would only delay assistance. It wanders into policy areas that are not related to the pressing issues at hand.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) March 12, 2020
The legislation that Speaker Pelosi introduced at 11pm last night—written by her staff and her staff alone—and plans to vote on just 12 hours later is not only completely partisan. It is unworkable.
I’ll explain why at my press conference at 10am ET: https://t.co/Pk4jPUtJIS
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 12, 2020
At the same time, it appears Pelosi is negotiating with some Republicans. She said that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s proposed changes to her bill are “all very reasonable.” Pelosi also announced she will be meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday.
Politico reported on the GOP’s opposition to the Democrat bill:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and White House aides told Republican lawmakers of their opposition Thursday morning. But at the same time, McCarthy (R-Calif.) expressed some hope that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi could cut a deal to change the bill to appease Republicans. McCarthy told his GOP colleagues of his opposition on a conference call Thursday morning.
The bill was scheduled to come to the House floor Thursday. House Democrats were hopeful on Wednesday that Republicans would support the bill, and the Trump administration sent signals the president could sign the legislation. But after the text was released Wednesday night, Republicans grew skeptical and frustrated.
Democrats will likely be able to pass the bill through the House, but it faces insurmountable odds in the Senate if President Donald Trump opposes it. There were last-ditch efforts to change the bill, as Pelosi spoke with Mnuchin Thursday morning, in an attempt to negotiate tweaks the legislation before it hits the floor. Republicans could drop their opposition if the bill changes, or Trump signals his support.
The Democrat plan, as it is currently written, includes free testing for the coronavirus, expanding unemployment benefits and paid medical leave for those out of work and providing subsidized lunches for children if schools close.
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