House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is “optimistic” that lawmakers will approve another round of economic relief from the coronavirus before the next election.
The California Democrat expressed a surprisingly positive view on Friday about the possibility of new legislation, despite the fact that the Senate rejected the “skinny bill” or Skinny Bill, proposed by Republicans the day before, according to CNN and Reuters.
“I am optimistic. I think we should come to an agreement,” Pelosi told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during The Situation Room. “That’s what we all want.
Senate Republicans recently suggested the “thin” version of their $1 trillion aid package, which sought to provide an additional $300 billion in pandemic assistance, Forbes reported. But Democrats rejected it in search of more funding, he continued.
Pelosi has openly criticized the streamlined bill, (Skinny Bill) stating that more money is needed for state and local aid, food for children, U.S. Postal Service funds and relief checks, as previously documented by PBS.
During her interview with CNN, Pelosi said she was proud of Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer for rejecting “that terrible, skinny bill for a massive problem we have.
“I was so proud of him yesterday for rejecting that terrible, skinny bill for the massive problem we have. It doesn’t even try to find common ground to meet the needs of the American people, in fact, it is contemptuous and despicable about the needs of the American people,” the politician said.
Pelosi did not reveal whether there are any upcoming negotiations in sight involving the White House or Senate Republicans.
The Republicans needed 60 votes to pass the “skinny bill,” but got only 52 votes in favor and 47 against. Senator Rand Paul was the only Republican to vote “no”.
Senate Republicans recently submitted to the floor their streamlined version of their aid package, which included $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits through Dec. 27, according to Politico.
It also extended the terms for the Paycheck Protection Program, added $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, and offered more money for schools and testing, the medium continued.
While Congress remains deadlocked, millions of Americans risk losing their unemployment benefits next year.
About half of Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits are taking advantage of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), according to a U.S. Department of Labor news release.
PUA, created under the CARES Act in the spring, provides up to 39 weeks of assistance for those who would not normally qualify for “regular unemployment compensation,” including the self-employed, part-time and self-employed, the Department previously stated.
Because the program expires at the end of the year, CNBC reported, assistance for millions of “vulnerable” workers could potentially be compromised.
Howard University professor William Spriggs recently told the media that pandemic assistance provides coverage for groups that are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, “including black workers who are over-represented in self-employment, contract, or part-time work.
“The proportion of workers receiving Pandemic Assistance clearly points to the gap in regular state programs that ignore workers and a number of low-wage industries,” Spriggs told CNBC.
“It shows that we can and do design access to programs to insure low-wage workers,” he added.
Unless Congress can agree to a new stimulus package before benefits expire on December 31, only workers who would normally qualify for traditional unemployment “will continue to receive assistance in the new year,” CNBC said.