By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) - Top US Democratic lawmakers lowered their initial offer Wednesday for a much-anticipated relief bill, while President-elect Joe Biden urged both parties to quickly agree on a stimulus package.
After insisting on a $2.2 trillion bill, which failed to pass Congress before the Nov. 3 presidential election, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said a $908 billion level would be the "basis" for negotiations.
The new offer is "in the spirit of compromise we believe the bipartisan framework introduced by Senators yesterday should be used as the basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations," Pelosi and Schumer wrote Wednesday in a joint letter.
"It’s time for Leader [Mitch] McConnell to sit down with Democrats to finally begin a true, bipartisan effort to meet the needs of the country," they added, referring to the Senate majority leader.
McConnell proposed a bill of around $500 billion before the election, but it failed to find traction in the House.
Biden urged fellow Democrats and Republican leaders to agree on a relief bill even though it "wouldn’t be the answer, but it would be the immediate help for a lot of things."
He left the door open for an additional package, indicating more financial aid could come later in 2021.
Around 22 million Americans have lost jobs in March and April, while only half of could find employment since then.
"Economists are warning the US economy will fall into double-dip recession without additional federal relief from Congress," Pelosi and Schumer said in the letter.
"With the imminent availability of the vaccine, it is important for there to be additional funding for distribution to take the vaccine to vaccination. This distribution effort will be led by the states further increasing the need for funding for state and local governments," they added.