Second Stimulus: Pelosi Calls for More Negotiations Amid COVID-19 Spike

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Getty House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is once again calling on Republicans to negotiate a coronavirus relief measure as cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations spike across the U.S.

In October, The Washington Post announced that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acting on behalf of the White House, proposed a $1.8 trillion economic relief bill, which Pelosi rejected due to language that she said changed the bill into a “slush fund” for the Trump administration.

With President Trump refusing to concede the election and President-elect Biden expected to move into the White House in January, McConnell is now the lead negotiator for Republicans. McConnell is expected to support a “skinny bill” which Forbes and Politico have reported include $300 weekly unemployment supplements, $105 billion for schools, no state and local government aid and no additional stimulus checks.

Pelosi is standing by her HEROES Act, although the cost of it has gone up from $2.2 trillion to $2.4 trillion. Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer have said that the higher number is the starting point for any negotiations going forward, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Pelosi Calls the Coronavirus Spike a ‘Red Alert’

Bloomberg News reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reaching out to Republicans to continue negotiations around a second stimulus.

Describing the spike in coronavirus cases as a “red alert,” Pelosi said that the lame-duck session of Congress is a crucial time to pass a new coronavirus relief measure. “Our focus in the lame-duck continues to be on Covid relief — this is a red alert,” Pelosi said at a press briefing on Friday, Bloomberg News reported. “I urge Republicans to acknowledge the crisis and come to the table to work on Covid relief.”

Pelosi also told a CNN reporter that she took “credit for winning a majority and holding the House,” and does not believe that losing seats during the 2020 election has affected her bargaining position, Politico reported.

The U.S. Currently Has the Most Coronavirus Cases in the World

According to Johns Hopkins coronavirus map, the U.S. currently has 10.6 million coronaviruses cases, which is the most cases in one country; India — which has 971,000,000 more people than the U.S. population-wise — has the second-most coronavirus cases with 8.7 million cases.

The U.S. is also leading in deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard, with 243,387 deaths compared to the country with the second-most deaths, Brazil, which has 164,281 deaths.

The New York Times reported that 46 states have seen the number of coronavirus cases trending upward and hospitalizations have also been increasing. According to The Covid Tracking Project, hospitalizations have reached a weekly average of 67,000, which is higher than the beginning of the pandemic in April and all of the peak at the end of July.

The dragging pandemic according to an Aurora mayor, Richard C. Irvin, has led to coronavirus fatigue. “I would say morale is extremely low,” he told The New York Times, adding, “I think people — many people, I wouldn’t say all — are to the point where they don’t necessarily care anymore.”

That carelessness has not gone unnoticed by government leaders, such as New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who was aksed by a reporter how he would respond to people complaining that wearing a mask is “uncomfortable and annoying” and “just too much for them to handle so they’re just not doing it.” Murphy responded by saying, “You know what’s really uncomfortable and annoying? When you die. That’s my answer.”

Experts have pointed to this second wave, warned of by White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci in May, as being one of the most deadly periods in the pandemic. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Infection Disease Research and Policy Director Michael T. Osterholm told The Washington Post, “This is like one huge coronavirus forest fire, and I don’t think it’s going to spare much human wood out there unless we change our behavior.”

“I don’t see anything changing this right now. The behaviors are not changing,” he later added. “The deaths will go up precipitously over the course of the next month. It’s going to happen.”

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