House Speaker Pelosi says she opposes smaller coronavirus relief bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks by video feed during the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention as participants from across the country are hosted over video links from the originally planned site of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 19, 2020. 2020 Democratic National Convention/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that now was not the time for the chamber to pass a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill, after more than 100 House Democrats urged their leadership to pass enhanced unemployment benefits.

“I don’t think strategically it’s where we should go right now because the Republicans would like to pass something like that and say forget about” other Democratic priorities, Pelosi said in an interview on PBS’s “NewsHour” program.

Pelosi said she would also want any legislation to include aid for state and local governments, food aid for children, funding for vote-by-mail and other initiatives.

On Tuesday, more than 100 Democrats in the House of Representatives issued a letter urging Pelosi to allow a vote on a bill to reinstate the lapsed $600 a week unemployment benefits until the coronavirus pandemic ends.

Asked about the letter, Pelosi said: “I don’t think the timing is for us to do it right now.”

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Cynthia Osterman