Coronavirus stimulus bill to cost at least $1.3tn, but it’s not enough: Pelosi

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There is widespread speculation over the total cost of the second stimulus bill. The CARES Act, which was passed in mid-March was about $2 trillion, while the next bill could be anywhere between $1 trillion and $3 trillion, with Republicans likely aiming for the former and Democrats for the $3 trillion mark. However, if the latest developments are anything to go by, then the total cost of the next coronavirus stimulus bill could be about $1.3 trillion.

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Cost of next coronavirus stimulus bill?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on Thursday, acknowledged the need of Democrats and Republicans to resolve issues over what to include in the next stimulus bill. The next relief package is needed quickly considering the rising coronavirus cases in some states again and a few financial lifelines – accorded by the CARES Act – are set to expire.

Pelosi, however, still sees wide differences in the relief package that she and Republicans want to provide. Further, she revealed yesterday that the cost of the next coronavirus stimulus bill could be about $1.3 trillion.

“They know there’s going to be a bill. … First it was going to be no bill. And then it was going to be some little bill. Now it’s $1.3 [trillion]. That’s not enough,” she told reporters yesterday, according to CNBC.

It is not exactly clear what actually is the source of this $1.3 trillion figure. The cost of the HEROES Act, championed by Pelosi, is over $3.3 trillion, while the CARES Act was worth $2.2 trillion. There have been reports of Republicans targeting a stimulus bill of $1 trillion.

Pelosi, however, is hopeful that there will be a stimulus bill in the coming weeks and that the GOP would eventually agree to a spending level closer to what has been proposed by Democrats.

“I have no doubt they’ll come around,” she said in an interview to Bloomberg Television, adding that Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have moved from questioning the need of another bill, to a $1 trillion relief bill.

Next stimulus bill: two sticking points

The discussion on the next stimulus bill is expected to start next week. Two main talking points will be the stimulus checks and additional unemployment insurance.

There are reports that the next stimulus check would target only those earning $40,000 or less. Democrats, however, will aim to take this income cap higher to about $75,000, something that has been proposed in the HEROES Act.

Whether or not to extend federal unemployment insurance will also be a sticking point. The HEROES Act proposes to extend this benefit a few more months. Many Republicans, however, believe the focus should be on getting people back to work. Considering the rise in the number of coronavirus cases, there are chances that an agreement is reached to continue with the benefit but of a lesser amount.