House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Sunday sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues about the status of negotiations between Democratic and Republican leadership in both the House and the Senate. According to Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was forced to cancel his cloture vote on an emergency Wuhan coronavirus relief bill that came with a more than $1.6 trillion price tag. The vote was originally scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. EST.
“It’s on the Senate side because that’s their deadline for a vote,” Pelosi said about the Monday deadline. “We'll be introducing our own bill and hopefully it will be compatible.”
Although Pelosi told reporters talks are still on-going, she is planning for the House to introduce their own coronavirus relief bill.
Dear Democratic Colleague,
Today, we are finalizing our Take Responsibility for Workers and Families legislation. As we do so, the Senate continues to engage in negotiation. Leader McConnell had to postpone his 3 p.m. cloture vote on the motion to proceed because, thanks to Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats, he did not have the 60 votes required.
Our Committee Chairs have worked diligently to present legislation which recognizes the gravity of the coronavirus challenge. I am writing to thank all of you for the invaluable intellectual resource that you are to meeting that challenge. Your work during the District Work Period communicating with health care providers and institutions, small businesses, people of faith, non-profits, scientists and other stakeholders has equipped us to proceed forcefully.
There is at this time a big difference between the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act and what the Senate Republicans are proposing. As the Senate continues to talk, we must continue to act For The People.
Last Thursday, Pope Francis offered the world this prayer: “Enlighten those responsible for the common good, so that they might know… how to care for those entrusted to their responsibility.” Democrats Take Responsibility.
Thanks again for your dedication to the health and well-being of the American people at this sad time.
According to POLITICO, House Democrats have been repeatedly conferring with Senate Democrats about what language to put in their bill. The goal was to have a dual-track with similar language in the House's version of the McConnell-Schumer bill.
"I'm anxious to see what Speaker Pelosi would put on the table. She needs to be part of this conversation," Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. "We do have a bicameral Congress and the House of Representatives will ultimately consider whatever is sent to them. And I hope we can have a bipartisan agreement when that's sent."
McConnell has placed pressure on House Democrats to support the Senate's bill.
“It would be best for the country if the House would take it up and pass it just like we did earlier this week when the House passed a bill that I had only marginal participation in because the country was desperate for results. So I hope that’s the way this ends,” McConnell told reporters.
Much of the disagreements stem from long-term funding and rule changes. Democrats are looking to make long-term changes, like investments in infrastructure, part of the Wuhan coronavirus relief packages. Republicans, however, aren't comfortable adding that language into the bill.
GOP congressional leaders still privately believe there will be a Phase 3 deal as early as today. Could slide into Monday— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) March 22, 2020
/2 Dems are seeking stronger “worker protection” language & “hundreds of billions of dollars” in supplemental spending portion of package— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) March 22, 2020
/3 GOP source said Pelosi had a “laundry list” of additional requests, including election security funding. Dems also raised wiping out $10k in student loan debt & host of other issues— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) March 22, 2020