Pelosi says U.S. House committees to work on COVID-19 relief package next week

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that House committees will work on a new COVID-19 relief package next week.

"We're getting ready for a COVID relief package. We'll be working on that as we go," Pelosi said at her weekly press conference.

"We'll be doing our committee work all next week so that we are completely ready to go to the floor when we come back" at the beginning of February, she said.

Pelosi noted that the relief proposals from the Joe Biden administration build on many of the initiatives that were in previous packages drafted by House Democrats.

"It's what the people need, what the country needs to crush the virus, put money in the pockets of the American people, and honor our heroes," she said.

Pelosi's remarks came after Janet Yellen, U.S. President Joe Biden's nominee for treasury secretary, on Tuesday urged Congress to "act big" with a new COVID-19 relief package.

"Economists don't always agree, but I think there is a consensus now: Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now -- and long-term scarring of the economy later," Yellen said at her confirmation hearing virtually held by the Senate Finance Committee.

Biden last week unveiled a 1.9-trillion-U.S.-dollar COVID-19 relief proposal, which draws opposition from a growing number of congressional Republicans. It's unclear whether the Biden administration would secure enough votes for a new massive relief package.

"The only organizing principle that I can discern is it seems to spend as much money as possible, seemingly for the sake of spending it," Pat Toomey, a Republican senator from Pennsylvania, said Tuesday, adding Biden's proposed package doesn't help Americans most in need, and makes it harder to come to a bipartisan agreement.

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