Pelosi: Democrats united amid push for smaller coronavirus relief package

With no stimulus package yet despite weeks-long negotiations, there were reports of cracks emerging within Democrats and Republicans. The split within Democrats became evident following letters from the members to come up with standalone legislation. Likely to deny such reports, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said that her caucus is standing together over negotiations on another coronavirus relief package with the Trump administration.

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Some Democrats want quick action

Pelosi, so far, has remained firm on most of the provisions of the HEROES Act. She earlier refused to accept the offer of sending $600 in unemployment benefits while the parties continue negotiations. Pelosi also didn’t accept the $400 unemployment benefit proposed by Senate Republicans.

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She also turned down the offer of passing a targeted stimulus bill focusing on the provisions that both sides agree on. One such provision is the $1,200 stimulus check. Following these developments and failed negotiations over another coronavirus relief package, some Democrats wrote a letter to Pelosi. The letter urged Pelosi to take up a smaller stimulus package.

One of the first letters was sent by Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa). The letter dated August 19 urged Pelosi to “bring up a simplified, straightforward COVID-19 relief package.”

Axne requested that they pass the measures on which they agree with the Senate. She called for extending unemployment benefits until the end of the year, extend the Payroll Protection Program, eviction moratorium, and another stimulus check.

Last week, a group of 117 Democrats, who are part of the New Democratic Coalition, also requested Pelosi to come up with another coronavirus relief package. The letter urged Pelosi that in addition to the Postal Service issue, the House should also take up the Worker Relief and Security Act.

Separately, the Blue Dog Coalition, which includes 26 fiscally-responsible Democrats, urged Pelosi and other negotiators to resume negotiations on another coronavirus relief package. The group noted that the relief package should include unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, among other things.

Another coronavirus relief package: what does Pelosi say?

Following the letters, on the weekend, Pelosi made it clear that she won’t allow voting on another coronavirus relief package. She referred to the ideas put forward by fellow Democrats as “excellent” but said “we must consider their timing and strategic value. They cannot come at the expense of addressing the priorities of the Heroes Act.”

Then on Sunday, Pelosi further clarified that her caucus is together over negotiations on another coronavirus relief package.

“I invite any ideas that they have," Pelosi told CNN, adding "of course, we all want the negotiations to continue but not just what the administration wants, but what the country needs."

Pelosi also slammed the Trump administration for opposing aid for state and local governments. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, on the other hand, called Pelosi to pass the provisions on which the two sides agree on.