Speaker Nancy Pelosi harangued some of her Republican colleagues as “anti-science” and “anti-governance” on Thursday as she advocated for another sweeping legislative package to address to the coronavirus pandemic and a “federal standard” for re-opening the economy.
Democratic leaders are not in active talks with congressional Republicans or the White House on a follow-up bill to the roughly $2.7trn Congress has spent on the coronavirus response over the last two months, Ms Pelosi indicated.
Republicans have adopted a wait-and-see approach, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggesting on Thursday that Congress may not even need to pass another bill anytime soon.
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Ms Pelosi dismissed that notion as absurd.
“If you’re anti-governance, which many people are here, and you’re anti-science, which many people here are, then you don’t see the need to have scientifically based decisions for the federal government to to act upon,” Ms Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference from the Capitol.
“We don’t want any more government than we need,” she said of future legislation for coronavirus.
“But we have to have governance, that we do, and hopefully it can be bipartisan. But our first responsibility is to meet the needs of the American people. Immediately,” she said.
Ms Pelosi also criticised the Donald Trump for taking a back seat to states in the effort to reopen the US economy.
While the administration has offered federal guidelines for states to begin reopening, they are not binding, leaving states on their own to go it alone or coordinate reopening with their neighbours.
The governors of New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have been working together for weeks to coordinate reopening plans.
They also formed a coalition to purchase personal protective equipment as a bloc, which they are hoping will reduce prices by eliminating competition.
“If you’re going to have a standard, you really have to have a federal standard because, as we know, viruses know no borders nationally, but they certainly don’t know any state borders,” Ms Pelosi said on Thursday. “Everything should be based on science,” she said.