Pelosi Abandons Sweeping Coronavirus Legislative Agenda, Agrees to Narrowly-Tailored Phase-4 Relief Bill

Zachary Evans

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday indicated she would support a phase-4 coronavirus relief bill without a broad infrastructure plan or many of the other unrelated legislative goals she initially called to be included in the legislation.

“I’m very much in favor of doing some of the things that we need to do to meet the needs of clean water, more broadband, and the rest of that. That may have to be for a bill beyond this,” Pelosi told CNBC. “Right now, I think that we have a good model. It was bipartisan, it was signed by the President, but it’s not enough.”

“Let’s do the same bill we just did, make some changes to make it current,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill Friday, according to Politico.

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act agreed upon by Congress and signed by President Trump last Friday provides $2.2 trillion in economic relief to individual Americans, small businesses and large corporations such as Boeing that have been affected by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

“The acceleration of the coronavirus demands that we double down on the down payment we made in CARES by passing a CARES 2 package. We must extend and expand this bipartisan legislation,” Pelosi told CNN.

Pelosi’s previous push to include infrastructure legislation came after President Trump wrote on Twitter in support of the idea.

“We have never, ever gone down a path that involves this much investment for the future, involving this many people in our country, and again now at this time, we’re having a further health urgency, an immediate urgency,” Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday.

Republicans, however, have been wary of adding provisions that are not directly aimed at containing the coronavirus outbreak and the resulting economic damage after Democrats attempted to shoehorn environmental and corporate diversity regulations into previous relief bills.

During negotiations over the CARES Act in March, House Majority Whip James Clyburn told colleagues that the bill represented “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” Legislation inserted into the bill by Democrats included tougher carbon emissions limits for airlines, mandatory reports on diversity for corporate boards, and more tax credits for solar and wind energy. Republican senators including Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ben Sasse of Nebraska slammed the additions.

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