Pelosi pushes new virus package as McConnell hits 'pause'

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed ahead Tuesday with the next coronavirus aid, a sweeping package that is expected to be unveiled soon even as the House stays closed while the Senate reopens in the pandemic.

Key to any plan to reopen the economy, Democrats say, is robust testing. They are also expected to propose another round of direct cash aid for anxious Americans, funds for states to prevent layoffs and more money to shore up businesses in the stay-home economy. The amount of funding has yet to be determined.

“We still don’t have a national testing strategy that is adequate,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said. “It’s life and death.”

The contours of the next package are taking shape despite Republican resistance to more spending and a deepening debate over how best to confront the deadly pandemic and its economic devastation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday it's time to push “pause” on more aid.

President Donald Trump is encouraging states to reopen and Republicans hope the gradual comeback will kick-start the economy, reducing the pressure for more pricey aid.

“Now it’s time to go back to work,” Trump said at the White House.

Under strict social distancing guidelines, the Senate reconvened Monday for the first time since March, while the House is staying away due to the health risks. The Washington area remains a virus hot spot under stay-home rules.