Pelosi: House will vote on coronavirus aid, with or without Trump's support

House Democrats will vote Friday on legislation to provide financial help to coronavirus victims, whether President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE is on board or not, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVaccinated lawmakers no longer required to wear masks on House floor Simmering Democratic tensions show signs of boiling over Pelosi signals no further action against Omar MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday afternoon.

Pelosi has spent much of the week in intense negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE in search of a bipartisan package that can pass through both chambers of Congress and win Trump's signature.

Those talks are ongoing Friday afternoon, but with an agreement not yet secured, Pelosi sought to pressure the White House with a public declaration that House Democrats are not willing to wait around forever.


"The American people expect and deserve a coordinated science-based and whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe — a response that puts families first to stimulate the economy," she said in a rare televised address from the Speaker's balcony in the Capitol.

"Today we are passing a bill that does just that."

Pelosi's message came exactly an hour before Trump is scheduled to address the country in a public statement of his own, in which he's expected to declare a national emergency as policymakers scramble to contain the fast-moving coronavirus and check the economic damage it's caused across the country and the world.

Last week, the parties united to enact $8.3 billion in emergency funding, largely dedicated to the health care concerns arising from the crisis.

The Democrats' second round of relief is more focused on the economic fallout, providing financial assistance to those most directly affected by the outbreak. It does so by expanding unemployment insurance, extending paid sick leave for workers forced to stay home and providing food aid to low-income kids who might otherwise go hungry due to school closures.


"As schools are being closed, these children will be deprived of their meals," Pelosi warned Friday.  

The bill also aims to provide free coronavirus testing for everyone showing symptoms, including the uninsured. Pelosi characterized that provision as the most crucial part of the legislation currently under discussion.

"We can only defeat this outbreak if we have an accurate determination of its scale and scope, so that we can pursue the precise, science-based response that is necessary," she said.

It's unclear what sticking points remain as Pelosi and Mnuchin haggle for an agreement. Capitol Hill Republicans have balked at certain provisions of the Democrats' initial legislation, including the effect of the expanded paid leave benefits on small businesses.

Democrats have already conceded on several of the changes sought by GOP leaders. But without Trump's support, the package is likely dead-on-arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate, which has canceled next week's recess to work on the emergency response.