As the U.S. death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic sped towards 1,000 Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber will consider the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill as soon as practical once the Senate passes the measure.
Pelosi said in a TV interview on CNN that house members would be given 24 hours notice once the bill actually clears the Senate.
“We stand ready because the urgency is very clear,” Pelosi said.
At an afternoon briefing, President Donald Trump urged passage of the measure, promising to sign it quickly once it’s approved by both chambers of Congress.
Trump acknowledged that parts of the country have “a number of very tough weeks ahead of them.” But he continued to express his belief that “large sections” of the country could resume normal economic activity soon. That view is in stark contrast with what state elected officials of both political parties have said. Epidemiologists have warned that canceling shelter-in-place orders too soon would allow coronavirus to continue to spread and overwhelm the healthcare system.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke at the White House briefing after Trump had left. He warned that this coronavirus is starting to spread in the Southern hemisphere as it enters its fall and winter season. That means that even if the virus is controlled in the U.S. and Europe relatively soon, the danger of a second wave of cases being re-imported is very real.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 926 people in the U.S. had died from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. More than 65,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection have been reported in the U.S. so far.