US: House passes bill for stimulus package worth $3 trillion

The bill would give assistance to cash-strapped state and local governments

House-Speaker-nancy-Pelosi-Trumo-Impeachment-AP Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi | AP

The US House passed a $3 trillion Democratic economic stimulus bill on Friday that Republicans and President Donald Trump have already rejected, and aren’t likely to trigger bipartisan negotiations any time soon, a Reuters report read.

The measure would give cash-strapped states and local governments more than $1 trillion and give a new round of checks worth $1,200 to most Americans. According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the stimulus package should be the basis of talks with the GOP-controlled Senate and White House, which have called for a “pause” to allow earlier coronavirus recovery spending to work. “A horrible virus has made a vicious attack on the lives and livelihoods of the American people, and indeed on the life of our democracy,” Pelosi said.

The package includes $175 billion for rental and mortgage assistance and $200 billion in hazard pay for essential workers. The package also offers support for federal elections and the US postal service.

A $2 trillion stimulus package was passed by the White House in March.

The bill proposing the stimulus package will in most likelihood be ignored by the Senate that enjoys a Republican majority. The Senate instead focused on confirming Trump administration nominees.

Pelosi had invoked Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who has said Congress will have to inject more fiscal stimulus into the economy so that a prolonged recession is prevented.

Republican members of the state said that some of the bill’s provisions like reductions in immigrant enforcement and checks for undocumented immigrants didn’t belong in the virus stimulation bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will evaluate the $3 trillion in spending passed by the Congress to combat economic dentures caused by the virus outbreak.

"I do think though in terms of timing, the chairman of the Fed didn’t say how quickly, and we need to verify how we have done so far and make sure whatever mistakes we have made we don’t want to repeat," McConnel was quoted as saying in a Fox News report.

Trump, recognising that some sort of further economic stimulus will be necessary with increasing unemployment, said: “Phase four is going to happen but it’s going to happen in a much better way for the American people.” He added that he held leverage over Democrats in any future talks. “We have all the cards because we have the cards of the American people.”

Around 36.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment ever since the lockdown was imposed as a result of the virus outbreak.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said he anticipates another bill eventually.

The Senate, in June, may consider legislation to give businesses protection from virus-related lawsuits combined with limited economic aid. 

The Democrats themselves did not appear to be united when it came to the stimulus package. Democrats in some swing states voted against the bill.

Oklahoma’s Kendra Horn said she objected to spending $3 trillion without committee hearings and that they were given the 1,800-page bill for review just three days before the vote. Horn added that Congress should work out a compromise bill focused on state and local aid to fix small business loans and defeating the virus.

Other Democrats, though, backed Pelosi’s decision to expand the plan’s reach to include priorities such as eliminating the tax code’s cap on state and local deductions for individuals, as well as expanded employee-retention tax credits. But the speaker decided against several costly items sought by progressives including recurring stimulus payments to Americans linked to future unemployment. She said Congress could vote on more rounds of aid later if necessary.