Pelosi Hails 'Bubble-Up Workers Bill'; 'We Have More Bills to Come'

By Susan Jones | March 26, 2020 | 6:41am EDT
(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Early Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted: "The Senate just pivoted from one of the most divided periods in recent memory to passing the largest rescue package in American history. And we passed it unanimously. Americans deserved this outcome. I am proud the Senate stepped up," McConnell said.

Hours earlier, in a conversation with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi struck a more partisan tone. She gave credit to Democrats; and she said that the $2.2 trillion package will not be enough:

"We have to be ready to not only finish the job, but to do it in a way that takes us in a very positive way for our economy, and to do so in a way that honors our values," the speaker said.

A number of Democrat "values" were removed from the $2.2 trillion Senate bill before it passed, but some remain.

Pelosi told PBS on Wednesday that Democrats "yielded on many points."

We certainly would have had a higher direct payment. We would have had more expanded family medical leave in here. We would have had the OSHA rule protecting the health care workers. We would have full benefits for everyone who gets tested. Remember, we said free testing, but we want the whole procedure to be there. So we would have pensions in here. There's other things that we want that we will save for another day because of the urgency of getting this passed today.

Pelosi told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the bill written by Senate Republicans "was a trickle-down corporate bill. It is now a bubble-up workers bill. And we're very proud of that," she said.

I hope that it would pass the Senate quickly, so that we could predict what time we can get on with it tomorrow. But we stand ready, because the urgency is very clear. The solutions are not everything we wanted, but many of the provisions we had in our House bill are in the Senate bill.

And we know that we are going to need more for our states, for our cities, for our hospitals, for health care providers, for our workers, for our families, for our economy.

Pelosi said once the bill passes the Senate, as it did early Thursday morning, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will give members "at least 24 hours' notice" so House members "know what they're voting on and can review it."

The House is in recess, but members may have to return to Washington. Pelosi said passing the bill by unanimous consent will not work. "But we can take a voice vote. If someone calls for a recorded vote, then we're prepared to go in that direction as well," she said.

But what is important is for us to recognize the good that is in the bill, appreciate it for what it does, don't judge it for what it doesn't, because we have more bills to come.

At the start of all this, we had two bills which were about emergencies, the first two bills. And the emergency isn't over, but the focus was on those two bills.

Now we're mitigating for the damage of it all to the health and to the livelihood of the American people. That is in this bill. And then we will go forward for recovery. Emergency, mitigation, recovery, and, again, all along the way, still addressing the emergency and mitigation needs, but focusing on how we build the economy in a positive way as we meet the health needs of the American people.

Relief bills that originate in the House include Democrat agenda items (green new deal, vote by mail, corporate and small business mandates) that Republicans -- and President Trump -- reject.

Blitzer noted that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the Senate-passed bill is intended to help the American people for three months: "Do you agree with him?" Blitzer asked Pelosi:

Well, the unemployment insurance -- thanks to our Democratic members of Congress, and I salute Chuck Schumer, because he led the way in that negotiation, four months of unemployment insurance. And some of the provisions go even longer.

But I do think that...if that's the measure that he has on it, that we are soon going to have to have another bill. There's no way the states can bear the burden of this -- of this plague and this attack -- assault on the economy in their states.

I can speak with some authority on California. Governor Cuomo has been articulate in calling for more already. But that is not to diminish what we are doing now. So, hopefully, three months, we have a cure, it's all greatly diminished, and that would be great.

But I do think that the consequences of this will prevail for a while. So, we have to be ready to not only finish the job, but to do it in a way that takes us in a very positive way for our economy, and to do so in a way that honors our values.

Pelosi added that finding a cure for coronavirus "would be important," but "it doesn't mean that this all ends."

She said she doubts the $2.2 trillion package will be enough to get Americans through three months.

"The governors need more money," Pelosi said. "And we do have to do more." She said the Federal Reserve must step up, because "we can't do it with -- only with appropriated dollars."


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