Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House Democrats will pass the ‘Families First Coronavirus Response Act’ on Friday, though she did not mention support from Republicans or the White House.
The aid package secures paid sick leave, free testing, and strengthens food security initiatives, but the future of the bill remains unclear as House Republicans await a signal from the president. Pelosi added that the bill will also strengthen unemployment insurance. This bill is meant to expand upon the $8.3 billion dollar coronavirus package already signed by President Trump.
Pelosi, who delivered her remarks from the rarely-used speakers balcony, said the three most important parts of the bill are “testing, testing, testing” providing free tests to everyone including the uninsured and noted the legislation is “focused directly on providing support for America’s families, who must be our first priority.”
"Sadly, and prayerfully, we have learned of the tragic death of at least 41 Americans from this public health emergency so far," Pelosi said. "The American people expect and deserve a coordinated, science-based, and whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe."
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating on the deal for days, and the Speaker’s office has been publicly tracking the calls between them to show the evolution of the negotiations.
President Trump, slated to speak Friday afternoon, could deliver a statement that will either signal to the GOP bipartisan support for the measure or leave the bill to face the hurdle of a Republican-controlled Senate.
Updated March 17 to clarify that $8.3 billion price tag refers to the initial coronavirus relief bill, not the ‘Families First Coronavirus Response Act.’