Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly intends to keep the House in session until both parties and the White House strike a new coronavirus relief deal, bowing to pressure from some in her caucus to act again amid the public health crisis before Election Day.
"We have to stay here until we have a bill," Pelosi told House Democrats on a morning conference call, according to The Hill. A congressional source confirmed her comments to The Independent.
But that will be an uphill effort – with all parties involved carrying big asks into any negotiations.
That's if there are any new negotiations. Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, as well as senior Trump administration officials, have not held any talks about an emergency package that could reach into the trillions of dollars.
Ms Pelosi, on that call and during a CNBC interview, again insisted she and other Democratic leaders would only accept a full-scale measure that resembles one House Democrats passed earlier this year. That bill, which was stifled in the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, would give state and local governments almost $1trn in emergency funding, and deliver another round of $1,200 direct payments to many Americans, while also extending a federal unemployment insurance program that ran out of money this summer.
She rejected one more time a "skinny" Senate Republican bill endorsed by the Trump White House.
"This is the opportunity. And the skinny deal is a Republican bill: That's not a deal at all," Pelosi told CNBC. "They're making a skinny, in fact, [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and I call it an emaciated proposal for a massive problem."
"We can fiscally spend the appropriate amount of money to meet the needs of the American people," she added. "And by the way: It's stimulus. We are a consumer economy and the more we have, whether it's food stamps or unemployment insurance ... that is stimulus to the economy. ... It all takes money."
Lawmakers and the White House must also reach a government-funding deal by the end of the month. Both sides are eager to avoid a federal government shutdown during an election cycle’s final month. But those talks likely will take priority, and further stall any new Covid-19 bill.
What’s more, it remains unclear what either side might except.
Ms Pelosi and Democrats want a massive, $3trn measure but White House negotiators have talked about a smaller, $1trn measure.
And Donald Trump, who would have to sign it into law, continues saying the country is “rounding the corner” on the pandemic crisis.