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House Majority Leader says two additional COVID stimulus packages might be needed

Congressional leaders and the White House have yet to agree on another coronavirus stimulus package.

Published: December 2, 2020 6:01pm

Updated: December 3, 2020 8:14am

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters that House Democrats are contemplating advancing two additional stimulus packages — one in the lame duck session under President Trump and a second should Joe Biden take office.

Congressional leaders and the White House have yet to agree on another coronavirus stimulus package.

"There is certainly a possibility that what we do, hopefully, next week, again, I know I'm optimistic, but I'm pushing hard for that," Hoyer said on a conference call. "There's a possibly that additional legislation will be needed."

Hoyer said no one should assume that whatever stimulus Congress passes before the year end would be the last package, adding that distribution of a vaccine doesn't mean the crisis will end at that time.

"Obviously, it will take some months, a significant number of months, before the broad reach of global citizens get the immunization, get the vaccination and therefore start defeating this disease and it's spread," he said. "Clearly, we contemplate the possibility of doing something beyond what may be done in the next week or so."

Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March. In April, the Federal Reserve announced it would issue more than $2 trillion in loans during the pandemic.

The Democrat-led House passed the $3.3 trillion HEROES Act in May and passed a revised $2.2 trillion version in October. The GOP-led Senate did not vote on either of those bills but attempted to pass a smaller coronavirus relief package that Senate Democrats blocked. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he would like to see Congress pass a coronavirus relief package that President Trump would sign before the end of the year.

Federal government funding is set to expire on Dec. 11. McConnell suggested on Tuesday that the omnibus budget bill could be tied to a targeted COVID-19 relief bill in the Senate.

"Obviously, given the challenges of moving things across the Senate floor speedily, that would be a vehicle to add on whatever coronavirus relief bill we know will get a presidential signature," he said. "And obviously, as was discussed earlier, it'll have to have Democratic votes to get through the House, but I think it'll all likely come in one package."

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