May 11 (UPI) — The U.S. House of Representatives will not meet, but will use this week to work out details in its newest proposed pandemic relief bill, along with a possible method for lawmakers to vote remotely, the House Majority Leader said Monday.
The office of Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced that “pending introduction of legislation, it is possible that the House may meet this week, no earlier than Friday.”
Even as the U.S. Senate returned early from a pandemic-inspired recess last week, the House has not officially met to work on a proposed fourth COVID-19 stimulus bill, possibly earmarking up to $1 trillion for state and local governments and medical providers.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday urged her colleagues in a letter to follow the advice of the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank and, “‘Think Big’ because interest rates are so low.”
“To do that, we must act boldly to support state and local entities to address coronavirus-related outlays and lost revenue,” she said. “Direct payments, unemployment insurance, rental and mortgage help and student loan assistance are essential to relieve the fear that many families are facing.” Pelosi said.
“Not acting is the most expensive course,” she added.
White House economic advisers opined yesterday that a fourth stimulus vote would be “premature.”
“I think many people would like to just pause for a moment and take a look at the economic impact of the massive assistance program, which is the greatest in United States history,” said Larry Kudlow on ABC News’ This Week.
Republicans in the House and Senate have opposed a bailout to the states, with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell suggesting states should be allowed to declare bankruptcy to restructure their pension and other debts.
The House is also discussing ways that lawmakers can vote remotely, Majority Leader Hoyer said Monday.
A bipartisan panel has been working on a proposal to adopt rules that would let U.S. Congress members vote by proxy. Democrats canceled a vote on an early proposal to allow remote voting last month.
“I’m hopeful that we can reach bipartisan agreement to change the rules to allow remote work,” Hoyer tweeted Monday.