Democrats Urge Pelosi to Accept Smaller Stimulus Package to Ensure Relief By End of Year

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has faced mounting pressure from within her party to accept a smaller stimulus package so Americans can receive much-needed financial assistance by the end of the year.

Negotiations for another stimulus package have been ongoing for five months with no deal in sight. President-elect Joe Biden has stressed the importance of reaching a deal by the end of December and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia believes that lawmakers should help the incoming administration.

"I think the Senate races in Georgia kind of put a premium on 'we ought to try to get something.' Because I think the two sitting senators kind of have to go out and ... have something," the Democrat said. "Biden wants something by the end of December, we ought to be able to find it."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Friday indicated that party leaders should compromise for speedy relief amid the worsening pandemic. "I just hope that we can get agreement. It may not be everything that everybody wants but at least if we can get some significant relief to people," he told Roll Call. "And then we're going to be here next year. If we need to do other things, we'll do other things."

Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill November 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty

Senator Dick Durbin echoed his congressional colleagues' remarks, urging Pelosi to "get something done that is significant, do what we can achieve now."

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently stood by their insistence of a $2.2 trillion starting point, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been reluctant to budge from his $500 billion position.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware doesn't think McConnell's offer is adequate to address the economic fallout caused by COVID-19, but encouraged Pelsoi and Schumer to focus on the contents of the bill rather than the price tag.

"I think we ought to be doing a broad package that provides support to small businesses through another round of PPP, to schools, to public health agencies to prepare for vaccine distribution," he said. "To me it's less about what is the top-line dollar though I would like it to be as close to $2 trillion or above as possible, than it is about how broad it is."

Newsweek reached out to Pelosi's representatives for comment.

With eight months passing since President Donald Trump's signing of the CARES ACT, both sides of the political aisle have blamed each other for their inability to bring additional relief to Americans struggling to pay for food amid a third wave of COVID-19. Democrats have criticized the GOP for refusing to allow for sufficient funding and Republicans have accused Pelosi of using the pandemic to advance her political agenda.

"[They] are still looking at something dramatically larger," McConnell said earlier this month, standing firm on a targeted stimulus bill. "That's not a place I think we're willing to go."

Last Wednesday, Biden suggested that Republicans won't compromise because they fear retribution from Trump. "Hopefully, when he's gone, they'll be more willing to do what they know should be done, has to be done, in order to save the communities they live in," he said.