WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that Democratic lawmakers unveiled a new, $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which she said was a compromise measure that reduces the costs of the economic aid.
In a letter to Democratic lawmakers released by Pelosi’s office, she said the legislation “includes new funding needed to avert catastrophe for schools, small businesses, restaurants, performance spaces, airline workers and others.”
“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill,” she said. “We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now.”
Pelosi in recent days has said she thinks a deal can be reached with the White House on a new coronavirus relief package and that talks were continuing. But she also said that she would offer legislation if the impasse continued with the Trump administration over the size and shape of another relief package.
She did not say when there would be a vote on the latest Democratic proposal.
Formal talks among Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows aimed at hammering out a relief package broke down on Aug. 7 with the two sides far apart.
Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone on Sunday and again on Monday. They plan to speak again on Tuesday morning, her spokesman said.
Pelosi and Schumer initially sought a $3.4 trillion relief package, then said some time ago they were willing to scale that back by at least a trillion dollars. But it was not clear whether the White House would consider the $2.2 trillion sum proposed in the new legislation. Meadows has said that Trump would be willing to sign a $1.3 trillion relief package.
Pelosi also faces pressure from moderate House Democrats who say they want to see bipartisan aid proposals that have a chance of becoming law.
The new proposal included $436 billion for state and local governments, as well as money for education, testing, airline industry workers and for a small business loan program known as the Paycheck Protection Program, a statement from House Democrats said.
It would also provide a new round of direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per taxpayer and restore federal unemployment benefits of $600 a week through January.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Cynthia Osterman)