President Nancy Pelosi is moving quickly toward the approval of a coronavirus aid package in the House of Representatives possibly this week, as Congress rejects the payroll tax exemption proposed by President Donald Trump and focuses on the immediate sick pay, unemployment benefits and other resources for US workers affected by the crisis.
Pelosi plans to present the measure on Wednesday, with the possibility of voting on Thursday, and Republican leaders said he could have bipartisan support. Congress is competing to contain the outbreak and financial consequences on another tiring day since the number of confirmed cases in the US UU. It exceeded 1,000 and the World Health Organization declared that the global crisis is now a pandemic. Communities across the country canceled public events in hopes of stopping the spread of the infection.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whom Trump turned to to negotiate with the Democratic leader, agreed with the need for quick action.
"We urge Congress to pass legislation quickly," Mnuchin said in Capitol Hill.
Mnuchin told lawmakers that there will be a "large number" of workers who will need to quarantine or stay at home with their relatives, comparing the costs with a natural disaster that would require federal help.
“We believe it is appropriate for the government to collect those costs. This is a bit like a hurricane, and we need to cover them out of normal expenses, "Mnuchin said. He and Pelosi spoke again early Wednesday to discuss the proposals for the package.
The Republican leader in the House, representative Kevin McCarthy of California, pointed out the potential Republican support.
"We need to do something," McCarthy said. "I think the things that will be presented will not be so controversial, and I think they could become very bipartisan."
Testifying at Capitol Hill, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that the outbreak in the United States will get worse.
"I can say that we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are now," Fauci told the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The hearing stopped abruptly when he and other senior officials returned to the White House to meet.
The president was promoting an economic stimulus package as financial markets faltered. They plummeted at the beginning of the week, rose again and fell again on Wednesday. But lawmakers from both political parties strongly criticized Trump's call for an exemption from payroll tax or industry help, as they focus on stopping the spread of the virus and helping homes.
"At this time we are trying to deal with the direct impact of the virus on individual citizens," the chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, John Yarmuth, D-Ky. Said on Wednesday when the Democrats met at the door. closed. Make sure the tests are free for everyone, driving unemployment insurance, etc. That is immediate. That is tomorrow.
Democratic lawmakers are preparing a more limited and immediate response to help workers without paid sick leave and those facing temporary layoffs due to the outbreak rather than a broader stimulus for the economy.
Pelosi's goal is to pass a more stringent measure on Thursday, before lawmakers leave the city for a previously scheduled recess of a week, and review possible stimulus measures later, those familiar with the thought said. They were not authorized to speak in public and spoke on condition of anonymity.
"We don't think they should simply throw money from an airplane and we hope that something will reach the people affected," said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who proposed additional measures that include infusions of small business cash and patience for student loans. . "It is aimed at people, not large corporations."
With Trump's Republican allies in Congress divided over their tax plans, support can be scarce, leaving Democrats to move forward with their initial response. Mnuchin seemed to agree with that approach.
"We want to do what we can do this week, and we will be back," Mnuchin said on The Hill.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illnesses recover in about two weeks, while those with more serious illnesses can take between three and six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
When asked by legislators, Fauci explained: "It is 10 times more lethal than seasonal flu."