WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Saturday that the White House's new COVID-19 relief proposal is insufficient to contain the pandemic and meet families' needs.
"On Friday, the Trump Administration returned to the table with a proposal that attempted to address some of the concerns Democrats have in the coronavirus relief negotiations," Pelosi wrote in a letter to her Democratic colleagues, adding this proposal "amounted to one step forward, two steps back".
"When the President talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold, rather than agreeing on language prescribing how we honor our workers, crush the virus and put money in the pockets of workers," she said.
Pelosi said a key concern for Democrats is the absence of any response on a strategic plan to crush the virus. "We cannot safely reopen schools, the economy and our communities until we crush the virus with the science-based, national plan for testing, tracing, treatment and isolation," she said.
"At this point, the Trump proposal is insufficient in meeting families' needs, in stark contrast to the Heroes Act, which secured tens of billions for direct relief and refundable credits," added the House speaker, referring to the 2.2-trillion-U.S. dollar relief bill the House passed last week.
Pelosi noted that the two sides "still have disagreement" on many priorities, and Democrats are awaiting language from the administration on several provisions as the negotiations on the overall funding amount continue.
"Despite these unaddressed concerns, I remain hopeful that yesterday's developments will move us closer to an agreement on a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America's families," she said.
White House's National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday that President Donald Trump has approved a revised COVID-19 relief package in the negotiations with congressional Democrats, but he did not offer specifics.
It is not clear whether congressional lawmaker and the Trump administration could bridge their differences and reach an agreement on the relief package before the presidential election on Nov. 3.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday urged policymakers to provide more fiscal relief to households and businesses hurt by the pandemic, warning a prolonged slowing economic recovery could trigger typical recessionary dynamics.