Democrats and Republicans have been at odds lately concerning the next stimulus package. While the two sides disagree on many aspects related to the next plan, one of the most significant points of contention ties back to the price tag for the package, as Republicans have been calling for a cheaper policy than their Democratic counterparts. Amidst failing negotiations, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi shared on Tuesday that the Democrats are willing to make a compromise regarding the price tag of their previous HEROES Act, a stimulus proposal that was passed by the House of Representatives back in May. Since this act passed in the House, it has made no further headway in Congress.
Pelosi told Politico on Tuesday that Democrats are willing to cut their stimulus proposal in half to compromise with the Republicans. "We have to try to come to that agreement now," she said. "We're willing to cut our bill in half to meet the needs right now. We'll take it up again in January. We'll see them again in January. But for now, we can cut the bill in half." The HEROES Act, a $3 trillion stimulus package, was passed in the House of Representatives in May. In August, Democrats offered to reduce that $3 trillion figure by $1 trillion, but the White House rejected the offer.
The HEROES Act would provide an array of economic relief amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Not only would it grant eligible Americans with another, one-time $1,200 economic impact payment, but it would also provide funding for coronavirus testing, rent and mortgage assistance, and an array of other relief programs. It's unclear whether Republicans will be on board with the new total for the HEROES Act, as they have long been critical of the lofty price tag that Democrats are calling for in terms of the next stimulus package.
In mid-August, amidst failing stimulus deliberations, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, announced that the House would not be holding any floor votes until Sept. 14 (members will still have to be on 24-hour notice to return to Washington D.C. in case a deal is reached). At the time, Hoyer issued a statement about this move in which he said that it had been months since the House passed the HEROES Act, and Congress has still not been able to agree on a package. He shared, in part, "Unfortunately, while it has been nearly three months since the House passed the Heroes Act to provide assistance to families, increase testing and tracing, and help state and local governments keep teachers, first responders, and other essential workers on the job, Republicans have refused to act."