A deal on a new coronavirus spending package that will provide billions more emergency funding for small businesses, health care services and testing is almost within reach, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday.
Speaking with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Pelosi said negotiations now center around the "final language" of the deal, which she said was a "good thing."
"As we speak, we're in conversation with the final language. We have—I believe—come to terms on the principles of the legislation, which is a good thing," the House speaker said, according to a transcript of the interview published by her office.
"Now, we're down to the fine print. But I feel very optimistic and hopeful that we'll come to a conclusion tonight, so that it can be taken up tomorrow in the Senate and Wednesday in the House of Representatives," Pelosi said.
"We can't go until we have the final agreement, but we're close," she said.
Asked what the "hold up" has been on coming to an agreement on the funding package, Pelosi suggested that much of the debate centered around funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which dried up last week.
"We all, as part of CARES 1 bill, supported investing in our small businesses. They are the most optimistic entrepreneurial ventures in our country, the source of job creation, wealth creation and we thought that it was a good idea to invest in them to protect jobs with the Paycheck Protection Program," she said.
However, she said, "before you know it—boom—all of a sudden they were already out of money."
"And when the Secretary came and asked me for $250 billion, a quarter of a trillion dollars in 24 hours, I said, 'Well, we want to see the data on how that is spent, but also we want to make sure that we are—as long as we are going to the Floor—that we do so in a way that makes sure everyone can participate in the program."
"They said, no, no. Until about 100 hours ago they said no," Pelosi claimed. "And now, they've said yes."
As a result of the drawn out negotiations, the House Speaker said there will now be "about $120 billion more for small businesses in there."
Much of that funding, she said, would be dedicated to "our underbanked communities, women and minority owned businesses, Native Americans, rural America, veterans, small business and the rest. So, they have the place to get these benefits as well."
Sharing video of her interview with Cooper, Pelosi wrote in a tweet: "We must take steps to ensure that all who need to can participate in the Paycheck Protection Program."
In addition Pelosi told Cooper that negotiators were seeking to include $100 billion for health, with $75 billion going to hospitals and $25 billion for testing.
"Testing is one of the places where we want the language to be as good as we can agree to, that we need a national strategy for testing," Pelosi added. "Testing is the key that opens the door to our economy. Testing, tracing and isolation."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19
CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
- Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
- Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
- Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.
World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
- Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
- If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
- Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
Mask and glove usage
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.
- Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
- The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.