Pelosi urges Congress to 'go big' on next virus aid package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is poised to unveil the next coronavirus aid package, encouraging Congress to “go big” on aid to help cash-strapped states and struggling Americans. Voting is possible as soon as Friday.

But the bill is heading straight into a Senate roadblock. Senate Republicans said Monday they are not planning to vote on any new relief until June. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there is no “urgency” to act.

“Let's get on with it," Pelosi said Monday night on MSNBC.

“To those who would suggest a pause, I would say the hunger doesn't take a pause, the rent doesn't take a pause,” she said. “We have a big need. It's monumental.”

The new package, the fifth since March, is expected to carry another eye-popping price tag. President Donald Trump has signed into law nearly $3 trillion in aid approved by Congress.

Its centerpiece is likely to be money to states and cities that are struggling to avoid layoffs in the face of skyrocketing health care costs and plummeting tax receipts during the economic shutdown. There will money for virus testing and another round of direct cash payments and unemployment benefits for Americans, Pelosi said. She has not disclosed the cost.

On a conference call with House colleagues Monday, Pelosi urged them to “go big,” according to person unauthorized to discuss the private caucus call and granted anonymity.

With the Capitol still partly closed, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told lawmakers on the call there would be 72-hour notice before returning to Washington for the vote, which could come Friday, the person said.