House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks before signing the Coronavirus Emergency Response Package which passed the House with only three votes against it on Capitol Hill on March 5, in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum | Getty Images
House Republicans made clear Thursday that they won’t support the new emergency coronavirus aid bill unveiled by Democrats – at least not in its current form.
Lawmakers in both parties are scrambling to take action to combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
But Republicans have hang-ups with the specifics of the Democrats’ bill, CNBC’s Ylan Mui reported Thursday, because it omits several of the measures President Donald Trump had called on Congress to enact.
Politico reported Thursday morning that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy R-Calif., Opposed the bill.
McCarthy was expected to explain his problems with the bill in public remarks at 12 am ET. In a tweet earlier Thursday, he called the plan “unworkable” and complained that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Had introduced the “completely partisan” bill late at night Wednesday.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill responded on Twitter that McCarthy’s claim was “not true.”
“Minority staffs of committees of jurisdiction were given language yesterday afternoon” and had already requested changes, Hammill said.
Pelosi continued negotiations with Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin that had begun earlier in the week.
Trump, in an Oval Office address Wednesday night, had asked lawmakers to consider implementing payroll tax relief amid the US response to the virus. That measure, which even some Republicans have been reluctant to endorse, is not included in the Democrats’ bill.
Payroll taxes fund entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
The bill also ignores Trump’s call for increased authority for Small Business Administration loans.
A spokesman for Pelosi told CNBC that the payroll tax and SBA measures did not come up during the speaker’s call with Mnuchin.
Lawmakers are set to return to their districts for the next week, compounding the sense of urgency to push something through the chamber while Members are still there to cast votes.
There has been talk that negotiations could extend through the weekend if a deal can’t be reached before the scheduled recess begins.
During a meeting Thursday morning, the House Rules Committee’s Ranking Republican, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, griped about the lack of bipartisan cooperation on the bill.
“I set a pretty hopeful tone last night because I thought that was the appropriate thing to do, and I would’ve liked to have had the opportunity to continue that today. But frankly, while work may have been continued through the night, there wasn’t very much bipartisan work through the night as I understand it, “Cole said.
” On top of that, this legislation has had a single hearing, hasn’t had a single witness, has had zero Republican input of any substance. So at this point, we’re certainly not prepared to support either the rule or the fundamental legislation. “
While the politicians pressed their positions, the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms announced Thursday that access to the US Capitol by the general public will be banned for the rest of the month . The White House also announced it has temporarily canceled tours.