House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Wednesday a COVID-19 relief bill would be removed from a $1.5 trillion government funding package and voted on by the chamber soon, The Hill reported.
A vote on the spending bill, which includes $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine for their ongoing war against Russia, is also expected to occur within the next few days.
“We have a bill that’s going to be on the floor, hopefully, today, just depends. We have a bill that I mentioned that will be on the floor today. And it will be — really contain what the administration says that we need. It’s a separate funding package to continue the battle against coronavirus, largely focusing on the new therapies that are there,” Pelosi said during a weekly news conference.
The move to split the bills was revealed through a “Dear Colleague” letter earlier in the day, where she largely blamed Republicans. However, some Democrats in her caucus also raised concerns, according to CNN.
The dispute centered mainly around a provision that offset costs by taking back unspent money by states from last year’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief legislation, per The Hill.
“This deal was cut behind closed doors. Members found out this morning. This is completely unacceptable,” Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., told CNN as she walked out of Pelosi’s office.
“Our states have planned for these dollars,” she continued. “We fought like tooth and nail to get these dollars home to our state governments. And now we’re sitting here this morning talking about that being called back is the option.”
Notable progressive Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., also railed against the plan, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“I vehemently oppose efforts to snatch back the lifesaving resources we need to fully and equitably recover from this pandemic,” she said in a statement.
A Democrat aide confirmed the standalone bill would remove the offset proposal the caucus took issue with, but that decision might spell its end in the Senate where Republicans have been fervent the bill pay for itself, according to The Hill.
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