Nancy Pelosi has reportedly abandoned her hopes for a big stimulus deal after President-elect Joe Biden showed his support for the new $900 billion plan. According to journalist Jake Sherman, Pelosi is saying that she's willing to do a smaller deal now that Biden is headed to the White House. He also noted that this comes after Pelosi spent many months fighting for a bill with a price tag between $2 and $3 trillion.
According to NPR, Pelosi recently spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who has not voiced support for the bill — and later told reporters that she feels there is "momentum" for Democrats and Republicans to come to an agreement on the bill. She also explained that the emergence of multiple new coronavirus vaccines — in addition to a new administration coming into the White House — has been "a total game-changer" in terms of the two sides of the aisle finding common ground.
PELOSI has held out for a big deal for 6 or so months. She said this morning that now that BIDEN is president, she is willing to do a smaller deal.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) December 4, 2020
McConnell also spoke to reporters, saying of his phone call with Pelosi, "Well we had a good conversation. I think we're both interested in getting an outcome, both on the omnibus and on a coronavirus package." Pelosi's willingness to work with McConnell on passing the $900 billion bill comes after both she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer opted to back off of supporting the $2 trillion COVID-19 response bill they had fervently been trying to pass.
The new $900 billion stimulus package is a bipartisan-supported bill meant to address and fund expiring programs such as unemployment insurance extension. It also includes more money for Paycheck Protection Program loans — something that Republicans have been firm on keeping — as well as for state and local government relief. The bill would allocate money for education, rental assistance, child care and broadband as well. Additionally, the bill would include measures for fighting the coronavirus pandemic by providing funds for vaccine distribution, testing and contact tracing.
Notably, one thing the bill does not contain is a second round of direct stimulus payments for Americans. This move has definitely been met with quite a bit of criticism, but Senate bill-supporter Mark Warner (D-Va) has stated that this is merely an "interim package," which would meet the most serious needs until Biden takes office in January. "If there’s one thing I’m hearing uniformly it's: 'Congress, do not leave town for the holidays leaving the country and the economy adrift with all these initial CARES [Act] programs running out,'" Warner said during an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box.