Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) adjusts her scarf as she is followed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) inside the US Capitol. After it was announced that leaders of the US Congress alleviate the coronavirus for the US economy, amounting to almost $ 3 trillion of the amount allocated to deal with the crisis, in Washington, April 21, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
Top congressional Democrats urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to immediately start talks on another coronavirus relief bill on Monday, as the pandemic continues to plague the United States.
In a letter to the Republican in Kentucky, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it “unacceptable” to allow the Senate to leave for a two-week recess on July 4 without passing more legislation to respond to the outbreak. They cited the need for Americans to cover the costs of living and the struggle of state and local governments to finance essential services, including the reopening of schools in the fall.
“Now is the time to act, not continuous delays and political positions,” wrote Pelosi and Schumer, Democrats from California and New York, respectively.
Congress has approved more than $ 2.5 billion in aid to try to mitigate the damage the outbreak has caused to the health system and the economy. While Congress and the Federal Reserve have tried to keep people’s incomes and help companies keep employees on the payroll as states restart their economies, the US unemployment rate was still above 13% in May.
Congress is heading toward a critical deadline in late July, when an additional federal unemployment benefit of $ 600 a week expires and leaves millions of Americans facing an income chasm.
At least 12 states saw their seven-day average of daily new cases rise to record levels last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Peaks of cases in Texas and Florida raised new concerns, forcing their governors to reverse plans to reopen. California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday ordered bars to be closed in seven counties, including Los Angeles, as cases dramatically increased in that state.
Last month, the House approved a $ 3 billion coronavirus relief package that included relief for state and local governments, risk-paying for essential workers, rental and mortgage assistance, and another round of direct payments to individuals. The Senate has not moved to pass more aid since then, as Republican leaders say they want to see how the reopening affects the economy before crafting another bill.
McConnell said Friday that the Senate would not consider further legislation until he returns from his recess in mid-July.
“At some point in July we will take a snapshot of the situation in the country, we will see how the work is returning, we will see where we think we are and if there is a final rescue package, it is when it will be developed and will begin, once again, in my office “, said. The Republican Senate leader said the bill passed in May was not a “serious effort.”
President Donald Trump had shown interest in passing another relief measure, but appetite for a bill in the White House seemed to decrease after the May employment report, better than expected. Trump advisers have put forward stimulus proposals that include lower payroll taxes and incentives to encourage spending on restaurants and entertainment.
Pelosi and Schumer cited the further increase in cases in their argument to pass further relief. As infections continue to rise, the US has reported more than 2.5 million coronavirus cases and at least 125,000 deaths.
Democrats wrote that “Americans need and deserve bold action now.”
“On behalf of the millions of American families who desperately need action by Congress, we demand that you change your mind and decide to work with us for the good of the country,” they wrote to McConnell.
Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube