House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters on Thursday at the Capitol that she advised the Biden administration to ask Congress for double what it originally asked in emergency COVID-19 relief — close to $45 billion, The Hill reported.
President Joe Biden had initially asked Congress for $22.5 billion in new funding, but that number decreased to $15.6 billion due to Republican opposition. Pelosi suggested that Biden’s recommended $22.5 billion was too small with which to work.
“I think they should be double what they asked for because even when they were asking for like 20-some [billion dollars], it was only going to get us to June,” she said.
“What I’ve said to the administration is … you must ask for more. Because we need more, and you can’t expect money, this [bill], to turn around just like that because the legislative process takes time,” she added.
Republicans have consistently opposed the COVID aid proposed by Democrats, arguing that any new pandemic spending needs to be paid for by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.
The party got its wish when a $15.6 billion proposal with offsetting costs was forwarded last week. But the bill was shelved after several prominent Democrats revolted over a provision in which the federal government would seek to retrieve more than $7 billion from state pandemic funds.
Pelosi reiterated that although she wants the new bill to have a heftier price, it should still be fully paid for.
“We want it to be bipartisan; we need it to be paid for. And so, let’s just go for a bigger chunk.”
The speaker said Monday that she hoped to vote this week on the new funding, but a senior Democratic aide said days later that the timeline would not be met, according to The Hill.
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