Pelosi moving swiftly on $3 trillion relief plan despite Dem gripes
The relief bill won’t be entirely without Republican support. Moderate GOP Rep. Peter King of New York, who is retiring after this year, has said he will back the legislation and wouldn’t be surprised if a handful of other Republicans did as well.
But the Trump administration opposes Pelosi’s proposal and most Republicans have panned it, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) describing it Thursday as a “totally unserious effort.” Republicans by and large have hit the pause button on pushing for additional aid, saying they would like to study how the nearly $3 trillion allocated so far is working before doling out more federal funds.
In addition, they say if Pelosi were serious about passing another bill, she would’ve negotiated with Republicans and the White House at the outset, not offering to do so after the fact. Pelosi on Thursday dismissed that criticism, arguing Republicans had done the same in earlier rounds of talks.
“We’re putting our offer on the table, we’re open to negotiation,” Pelosi told reporters. “When people say [it’s] partisan, it’s like wait a minute, it wasn’t partisan when they did it. … We’re saying ‘OK here’s our offer, let’s see where you are.’”
The House will also vote Friday on a historic change to the chamber’s rules that would allow members to partake in floor votes remotely by designating a proxy to vote on their behalf. It would also allow House committees to hold hearings, mark-ups and depositions remotely.
Republicans spent much of Thursday denouncing the change during a House Rules Committee hearing on the proposal. GOP lawmakers have refused to support the rules change, saying Democrats are rushing to upend 200 years of congressional norms without fully thinking through the consequences.
Democratic leaders have dismissed those charges, noting they worked for weeks to negotiate a bipartisan proposal with Republicans to no avail. Despite their failure to reach an agreement, Democrats did incorporate some Republican ideas into the final proposal, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said.
“This is not about getting advantage. This is about getting the people’s House and the people’s representatives in committee to work and work productively,” Hoyer said as he testified before the Rules panel Thursday. “This may be a once-a-century experience in our country.”
Pelosi also brushed off the Republican criticisms, noting the proxy voting change is temporary, lasting for only 45 days unless she chooses to renew it. The Washington, D.C., region continues to see an increase in coronavirus cases, prompting Mayor Muriel Bowser to extend the city’s stay-at-home order earlier this week until June 8.
“I would hope that it wouldn’t be any longer than that,” Pelosi said Thursday. “But we just have to judge at the time, and not when I say we, I don’t mean me. I mean the Capitol physician, the sergeant-at-arms, those who make a judgment about when we could lift such a [restriction].”
Michael Stratford contributed to this report.