Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is telling fellow Democrats that the next phase of emergency coronavirus relief will top $1 trillion.
In a conference call Monday with more than 180 House Democrats, Pelosi said the last relief package — a historic, $2.2 trillion infusion adopted less than two weeks ago — is insufficient to help the medical workers, businesses and employees affected by the fast-spreading pandemic.
She and a number of committee heads are busy drafting another round of emergency funding designed both to supplement the assistance already provided and expand it to include more affected populations, particularly rural, low-income and other vulnerable people left struggling to make ends meet as the coronavirus spreads around the country.
Democrats are working to provide more money for medical equipment and personal safety supplies for front-line workers, expand unemployment benefits from four to six months, provide another round of cash payments to individuals and extend food stamps, particularly for children who might miss meals as a result of mass school closures.
They also want to boost the fund providing low-cost loans to small businesses to cover payroll, rent and other expenses as they fight to weather the crisis. The $2.2 trillion package — the third emergency relief bill passed by Congress in the last month — allocated $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which extends those loans. But banks have grumbled about the lack of administrative guidance as they implement the program, and the sheer volume of applicants, Democrats warn, is threatening to exhaust the fund before many eligible businesses are able to tap into it.