Pelosi says she's ‘absolutely’ willing to forgo August recess to work on coronavirus relief package

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday said she's “absolutely” willing to forgo Congress' August recess to work on finalizing another coronavirus relief package.

Each year, Congress typically recesses for the month of August. When asked on CNN Tuesday if Pelosi would be willing to forgo or delay the break, she responded: “Oh, we absolutely have to.”

“The timetable is the timetable of the American people needing their unemployment insurance, their direct payments, their assistance for rent and mortgage foreclosure forbearance in terms of that,” the California Democrat continued.

Pelosi said she “certainly hopes” Democrats will be able to find common ground with Republicans in the Senate, and called on them to pass the House Heroes Act especially to extend federal unemployment benefits, which add an additional $600 per week to unemployment checks.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have pushed for a new coronavirus relief package to include liability protections, where an employee who contracts coronavirus at work cannot sue their employer. CNN’s Jim Sciutto asked Pelosi if she would be willing to include that in a final package.

“Well, what does he mean by that? Does it mean essential workers have to go to work, If they don't, they lose their unemployment insurance. And if they get sick there, they have no recourse?” she replied.

On May 15, the House passed the $3 trillion Heroes Act, the largest relief package in history, but many Republicans dismissed it as a “liberal wish list.” Democrats have since pushed the Senate to take up relief legislation, which McConnell has said they might do after the 4th of July recess ending July 20.

“This is not over. We are seeing a resurgence in a lot of states,” McConnell said. “I think the country needs one last boost.”

“If there is another one, it will come together in July,” McConnell said in mid-June, speaking in Ashland, Ky.

But with the U.S. budget deficit hitting $864 billion in June, Republicans are looking for narrowly tailored legislation to help the hardest-hit industries. Fox News is told Republicans are aiming for a bill that costs no more than $1 trillion.

Trump and McConnell aren’t ruling out another round of targeted, direct stimulus checks – especially for those making less than $40,000.


The Trump administration has continued to advocate for one idea unpopular with both Republicans and Democrats: a cut in the payroll taxes employers pay on behalf of their workers. The federal government has levied such taxes on the wages of employees. Payroll taxes have financed Social Security and Medicare, which have accounted for nearly a quarter of all government revenue. Pruning the payroll tax cut could further explode the national debt, contributing hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars of red ink – on top of the staggering spending OK'd by Congress this year alone.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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