The ambitious plan, which is being called "CARES 2" on the Hill, would pave the way for more direct payments to Americans forced to stay home during the outbreak, and provide additional assistance to small business and the unemployed, according to a report by Newsweek.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hopes to have the legislation ready before the end of the month.
“CARES 2 must go further in assisting small businesses including farmers, extending and strengthening unemployment benefits and giving families additional direct payments,” the California Democrat wrote in a letter to fellow lawmakers over the weekend, according to Newsweek. “Our communities cannot afford to wait, and we must move quickly.”
Before last week, Pelosi and other House Democrats were pushing to include rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure in the new stimulus package, but changed course after Republicans criticized the move as unrelated to the coronavirus’ impact on the economy, Newsweek reports.
“[Pelosi] needs to stand down on the notion that we're going to go along with taking advantage of the crisis to do things that are unrelated to the crisis,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told The Washington Post last week, according to Newsweek.
Some lines were already being drawn in the sand, as some Republicans advocated a wait-and-see approach on the success of the initial $2 trillion stimulus package signed last month by President Donald Trump.
Amid the resulting national shutdown, more than 10 million Americans have so far become jobless are still awaiting the first checks from that stimulus to arrive.
Trump reportedly endorsed Pelosi's push for another direct round of payments to Americans at a White House coronavirus briefing Monday, saying the idea is “absolutely under serious consideration,” Newsweek reports.
Economists have warned the prolonged crisis could sink the economy into second Great Depression.
The legislation would extend the federal government’s unemployment supplement of $600 per week, on top of state benefits, and would last for up to four months through July 31, according to Newsweek.