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US Democratic leader urges Republicans to pass 3-trillion-USD relief bill as COVID-19 deaths cross 200,000

Washington: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged the Republicans to support the House Democrats’ 3-trillion-U.S.-dollar relief bill to blunt the economic fallout.

“Republicans must accept the gravity of this crisis & vote on the science-based strategy in the #HeroesAct, which passed the House more than four months ago,” Pelosi said in a tweet, referring to the 3-trillion-dollar relief bill drafted by House Democrats.

In a statement issued after the country surpassed the grim milestone of 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, Pelosi said the horrific human toll of this deadly virus is all the more wrenching for its senselessness, but “it did not have to be this way.”

The California Democrat criticized the administration’s handling of the crisis, saying that President Donald Trump’s contempt for science, governance and the American people’s health has led to an historic national tragedy.

House Democrats unveiled a 3-trillion-dollar relief proposal in May, which didn’t gain support from Republicans. Senate Republicans put forward a 1-trillion-dollar package in late July, and failed to advance a slimmed-down proposal earlier this month.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has repeatedly lashed out at Pelosi, blaming the Democratic leader for the lack of progress on the new round of COVID-19 relief.

“Even Speaker Pelosi’s own House Democrats are sick of her blocking COVID-19 relief. But she insists anything short of her multi-trillion wish list would make Democrats ‘a cheap date.’ What a joke,” McConnell said in a tweet last week.

“People are hurting. They need help. Not the Speaker’s pointless political games,” said McConnell.

Pelosi, however, said in the statement “either Republicans do not understand the gravity of the situation or do not care about the needs of America’s working families.” She previously said the Republicans’ slimmed-down proposal doesn’t come close to addressing the problems.

At a hearing before the House Committee on Financial Services, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in his testimony that the administration continues to try to work with Congress and is ready to reach a bipartisan COVID-19 relief agreement, noting that a “targeted” package is still needed.


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