House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Friday called for a renewal of negotiations on the stalled Covid-19 relief bill, saying that Congress must act now as the virus surges again around the country.
“Our focus in the lame duck continues to be on Covid relief -- this is a red alert,” Pelosi said at a press conference. “I urge Republicans to acknowledge the crisis and come to the table to work on Covid relief.”
No talks are currently scheduled, however, and as we told you yesterday, there is considerable doubt that Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can bridge the more than $1 trillion gap between Democratic and Republican proposals for the relief bill before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Cases soar: Pelosi’s comments come as the U.S. reports a record number of positive Covid tests on a single day. “More than 153,000 new cases were recorded in the U.S. and the nation’s total topped 10.5 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University,” The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. California has now joined Texas as states recording more than 1 million cases.
Looking for federal help: State and local officials are hesitating to take aggressive steps to halt the spread of the virus, due in part to a lack of fiscal support, the Associated Press reported Friday. “I think that governors and mayors are, again, are in a really tough spot,” Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Brown University, told the AP. “The American population is emotionally and economically exhausted. I think that there are some minimum things that governors and mayors could and should be doing right now. But the trouble is, without support from the federal government, it becomes very difficult to do these things,” Ranney said, citing financial aid for businesses as a key factor.