Schumer says nation will 'definitely' need new coronavirus relief bill

 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFederal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in VA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Monday that there will "definitely" need to be a fourth coronavirus bill, which he said will force lawmakers to return to Washington.

"Look, I believe we are going to definitely need to do a COVID four. There are many needs that are unmet. And the problem may be of greater magnitude than people thought a few weeks ago. And so I do think we have to come back relatively soon," Schumer told reporters.

The Senate is in the middle of a three-week break. It is scheduled to return on April 20, but senators have floated that the timeline could slip amid concerns that the coronavirus is going to ramp up in Washington, D.C., and around the country over the next two weeks.

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Schumer added that he and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (D-Calif.) have spoken "some" about additional legislation as recently as Sunday.

"All I can tell you is I think we are definitely going to need a COVID four and I think it’s going to have to be big and bold because the problem is so huge," Schumer told reporters on Monday.

Pressure is growing on Congress to take additional action to combat the health and economic impact from the coronavirus. Lawmakers have passed three bills so far, including a massive $2.2 trillion package late last month that provided help for impacted workers, small businesses and industries like airlines.

But as unemployment claims spike, and are expected to increase further, and the number of confirmed cases and deaths within the United States grow, lawmakers say they are talking about a fourth bill.

House Democrats have moved aggressively to lay out their own ideas for a fourth package, which Pelosi has suggested she wants ready to move on the House floor as soon as the end of this month.

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"Our communities cannot afford to wait, and we must move quickly. It is my hope that we will craft this legislation and bring it to the Floor later this month," Pelosi wrote in a letter to her House colleagues on Saturday.

Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe MORE (R-Ky.) are locked in a days-long sparring match over the prospect of a fourth bill. 

McConnell is advocating a wait-and-see approach, arguing that lawmakers and the administration should focus, for now, on implementing the third bill, which has faced confusion over the rollout of loans for small businesses and how seniors can get checks included in the legislation.

But GOP senators say they are already holding "informal" discussions among themselves about next steps on legislation. Some of the ideas floated include "fixes" from the third bill, as well as additional aid for small businesses and state and local governments.

McConnell conceded in an Associated Press interview on Friday that a fourth bill would be necessary, but stressed that he wasn't "rushing" to write it.

"[It] should be more a targeted response to what we got wrong and what we didn’t do enough for — and at the top of the list there would have to be the health care part of it," he said.