WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — As the omicron variant caused a spike in hospitalizations across the country and impacted businesses in many sectors, federal lawmakers are talking about the possibility of another round of pandemic relief.
Some ideas include more help for small businesses and a new push for paid leave because of the ongoing pandemic.
“We always keep an eye on what needs to be done to meet the kitchen table needs of the American people,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said.
Gene Sperling, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden, is unsure more federal aid is needed.
“There could be specific areas where more resources are needed, particularly on things that are specifically COVID related,” Sperling said.
White House economic adviesers say the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Package Democrats approved last year was designed to deal with immediate and long term needs.
“The things like the variants that are creating lingering challenges,” Sperling said.
Cecelia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said that as a result, ” state and local governments continue to have resources to help keep our schools open, to help bring back workers.”
And Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said the Biden administration is already providing more help “with respect to testing and masks.”
For now, fears of inflation are limiting any consideration of more stimulus. Republicans, like Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, think the government already spent too much.
“Gas prices mean something,” Ernst said. “If you go to the local grocery store the costs are up significantly.”
If additional pandemic relief can get support, it would likely be included in next month’s government funding package.