Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said Congress was close to a bipartisan agreement on a plan to combat the coronavirus outbreak and that it was no time to be “playing politics” over the potentially deadly threat.
“The United States government must do more to address the spread of the deadly coronavirus in a smart, strategic, and serious way and we stand ready to work in a bipartisan fashion in Congress and with the administration to achieve this necessary goal,” the House speaker said during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill, echoing a joint statement she’d released with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Pelosi said she had been in a bipartisan meeting all morning with House colleagues and that her goal was to “make sure the government has the resources to combat this deadly virus and keep the American people safe.”
The White House asked Congress for $2.5 billion for its effort to stem the spread of the virus and treat those who may contract it, while Schumer proposed allocating $8.5 billion.
Pelosi did not mention a dollar figure but said the amount should be whatever was needed.
“We don’t know how much we will need, but we have to be ready to do whatever we need to do,” she said.
The Speaker also called for interest-free loans for small businesses impacted by the outbreak, and for state and local governments to be reimbursed for costs incurred while assisting the federal response to the outbreak.
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