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Pelosi seeking at least USD 1 trillion for next virus bill

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 07-04-2020 05:02 IST | Created: 07-04-2020 05:02 IST
Pelosi seeking at least USD 1 trillion for next virus bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that another USD 1 trillion is needed for the next coronavirus rescue package. Pelosi told House Democrats on an afternoon conference call that the current aid to Americans is not enough, according to a person unauthorised to discuss the call and granted anonymity.

Congress is considering more aid after passing a sweeping USD 2.2 trillion health care and economic package last month, the largest of its kind in U.S. history. Former Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen joined the private call and warned Democrats the economic fallout will depend on the public health response to the pandemic, the person said. As businesses shutter to stop the virus' spread, it has hurled the US economy toward a recession.

Yellen said it was impossible to know how deep and long the recession would be, saying it depends on the health response. The former Fed chair also told them the nation's unemployment rate is now at least 13 per cent and this week's jobless report will show higher numbers than last week's.

The earlier relief package, approved in late March, included one-time USD 1,200 direct payments to Americans, along with forgivable small business loans for companies to keep making payroll. It also included a boost of unemployment pay, money for hospitals and a USD 500 billion fund for bigger corporations and industries. But Pelosi said the direct payments to Americans and the payroll protection program for small businesses are not enough and more needs to be done, the person said.

Pelosi also said there needs to be more aid through the supplemental nutrition program, also known as food stamps. The California Democrat has vowed to put the next package together in time for a House vote this month.

Both the House and Senate are adjourned through mid-April as the nation shuts down to grapple with the global pandemic..


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