House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday evening that she reached an agreement with the Trump administration on a package of legislative measures that would address the coronavirus outbreak.
Pelosi had announced plans earlier Friday that the House would vote on the set of proposals Democrats were pushing. But President Trump and House Republicans in the hours after that announcement signaled that they weren’t yet bought in on in the legislation, called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who had been tasked with leading the negotiations with the House, had several phone calls throughout the afternoon, according to Pelosi’s spokesperson. The Friday evening push to secure an agreement the administration supported culminated with a Mnuchin Oval Office meeting with Trump to get the President’s sign-off, CNN reported.
“We are proud to have reached an agreement with the Administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic House members that was released soon after the meeting
The exact details of the new deal are still unknown and the letter’s summary of the proposals was very similar to what Pelosi previously put forward: paid family leave, additional food program assistance, expended unemployment insurance and increased federal funding for Medicaid.
President Trump, who refused to support the bill at a press conference earlier Friday, has not yet expressed his public support for the agreement Pelosi says she has worked out with the administration. A senior administration official told the New York Times that Trump would tweet about the agreement soon.
It is also unclear whether the the Senate will now be more inclined to adopt the House’s legislation, after Senate Republicans this week showed extreme skepticism to what House Democrats were proposing.
Read Pelosi’s full letter below:
Dear Democratic Colleague,
As you know, the coronavirus crisis presents a grave and accelerating threat to public health and to the economic security and well-being of the American people. As Members of Congress, we have a solemn and urgent responsibility to take strong, serious action to confront and control this crisis and to put Families First and stimulate the economy.
To put Families First, last week, House Democrats took the first step: passing a strong, bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency funding package of entirely new funds.
Today, the House is taking the next step to put Families First. We are proud to have reached an agreement with the Administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We take great pride in the leadership of Chairs Lowey, Neal, Pallone, Scott, Peterson and McGovern, all the Committee and Subcommittee Chairs of Jurisdiction and the Rules Committee to craft this landmark legislation to protect families, which contains the priorities and provisions that Leader Schumer and I called for last weekend. We are especially grateful to the staffs of the Committees.
This legislation is about testing, testing, testing. To stop the spread of the virus, we have secured free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. We cannot fight coronavirus effectively unless everyone in our country who needs to be tested can get their test free of charge.
This legislation takes additional smart, strategic and science-based measures to put Families First:
- For families’ economic security: we secured paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. We have also secured enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.
- For families’ food security: we strengthened nutrition security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition and food banks. 22 million children rely on free or reduced-price school meals for their food security; we must ensure that they have food to eat.
- For families’ health security: we increased federal funds for Medicaid to support our local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems, so that they have the resources necessary to combat this crisis.
As the Senate works to pass this bill, the House will begin work on a third emergency response package to protect the health, economic security and well-being of the American people. We will do so in continued consultation with scientists, researchers, health care professionals, public health officials and community leaders, so that we can craft the most effective, evidence-based response.
Thank you for your patriotism and leadership to put Families First.