• House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats have to "think big"
  • The White House and Republicans are cool to the idea of passing another stimulus bill now
  • The bill is expected to include everything from rent and mortgage assistance to $2,000-a-month stipends for taxpayers

House Democrats were working Monday on the next phase of coronavirus stimulus, but Republicans and the White House may put the brakes on the next round of economic mitigation efforts as worries about the mounting deficit grow.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said last week they would unveil a new package soon. Schumer described it as “Rooseveltian” – a reference to the actions taken by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to try to pull the nation out of the Great Depression.

The Democrats have dubbed their measure CARES 2, a reference to the $2.2 trillion measure adopted at the end of March. The new measure, the fifth in the series adopted since the pandemic began, is expected to follow the contours of the original, which provided direct payments to taxpayers and contained funds for small businesses and medical providers.

“The chair of the Federal Reserve Bank has told us to 'think big' because interest rates are so low,” Pelosi wrote in a Mother’s Day message. “We must ‘think big’ for the people now, because if we don’t, it will cost more later. Not acting is the most expensive course.”

A House vote could come as early as Friday. However, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told CNN Sunday passing another round of stimulus now may be “premature.”

The Congressional Budget Office on Friday reported a budget deficit for April of $737 billion, largely because of the first rounds of coronavirus stimulus. The deficit for the year had been projected at more than $1 trillion before the pandemic hit. The CBO is now projecting a 2020 deficit at nearly $4 trillion if no other action is taken.

The new bill is expected to provide help for state and local governments, which are reeling from the impact of COVID-19. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last month said he’s not inclined to support such aid and suggested states file for bankruptcy instead. He has since backed off that suggestion, and governors from both parties wrote a letter to congressional leaders, pleading their case for aid. The April unemployment report showed local governments already had cut 801,000 jobs.

Democrats likely will seek rent and mortgage assistance in the new bill, as well as help for paying utilities for those who have lost their jobs, plus additional funds for unemployment the small businesses. Some Democrats also have proposed $2,000-a-month stipends for Americans making less than $120,000 annually, plus $2,000 per child up to three.

Pelosi said Sunday testing for the virus needs to be expanded.

“The sooner we can identify the scale of this problem with the testing, testing, testing, tracing, [and] treatment, the sooner we'll be able to open up our economy,” Pelosi told Gray TV. “Not to do that is to prolong this.”

The measure also is expected to provide funds for the U.S. Postal Service and nutrition programs, as well as funding for mail-in voting.