U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling on Donald Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act as Congress returns next week to consider fresh coronavirus relief.
Pelosi issued the call during an event on Capitol Hill marking two months since House Democrats passed the Heroes Act, a $3 trillion relief package that includes unemployment assistance, student loan relief, money for states and localities and hazard pay for essential workers, among other things.
It also include $75 billion for coronavirus testing, tracing and isolation measures.
Pelosi has warned that without a comprehensive federal strategy for the country the devastating virus and its economic toll will only persist.
“We can talk all we want about testing, tracing, etc., but if we don’t have the equipment, people are standing in line or their cars are in line to see whether they even will qualify to be tested,” Pelosi said.
“And we need to know the extent of the pandemic in order for us to take the caliber of action necessary,” she said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he’ll begin to roll out details of the new COVID-19 relief package to senators as soon as next week.
He suggested it will include new funding for school reopenings, some unemployment benefits and money for health care providers.
Democrats have proposed $100 billion for schools in the House-passed bill. McConnell acknowledged schools will need more money, especially as they reduce class sizes for social distancing and potentially stagger classroom shifts.