U.S. states, local governments could need nearly $1 trillion for pandemic: Pelosi

FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hosts a signing ceremony after the House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 27, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. state and local governments could need close to $1 trillion in aid over several years to cope with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday.

“We’re not going to be able to cover all of it, but to the extent that we can keep the states and localities sustainable, that’s our goal,” Pelosi told reporters.

Asked if state and local aid would be the largest part of upcoming relief legislation, Pelosi, the country’s top elected Democrat, said: “I’ve talked about almost a trillion dollars right there, I would hope so. But we do have other issues that we want to deal with.”

Later on Thursday, President Donald Trump, a Republican, said he would “think about what’s happening.”

While he cast budget help as a “bailout” primarily intended for Democratic-led states, he also brought up negotiating positions. Trump’s fellow Republicans control the U.S. Senate and he has the power to veto legislation he does not like.

“We’re going to take a look at it. I think we want to take a little bit of a pause. But if we do that, we’ll have to get something for it,” Trump said.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney