Politics

"Extra work must be performed": Pelosi and Mnuchin have had extra conversations about coronavirus stimuli as time is operating out

Nancy Pelosi and Steven Mnuchin

Reuters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin worked again Wednesday to resolve outstanding coronavirus stimulus differences as they ran out of time to reach an agreement ahead of the 2020 elections achieve.

In a 48-minute phone call, negotiators came "closer to pen-to-paper to write laws" and "better prepared to compromise on multiple priorities," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a tweet statement. The couple will talk again on Thursday.

"The disparities in health priorities will continue to narrow, including language, which includes a national plan for strategic testing and contract tracking. But more work needs to be done to ensure schools are the safest places in America that children can learn, "said Hammill.

Prior to speaking on Wednesday, Pelosi told MSNBC that the sides "have a prospect of an agreement". While the California Democrat said she was hopeful of a deal, she signaled that Democrats and Republicans may not reach an agreement until after election day.

"I am optimistic that there will be a bill," said Pelosi. "It's a question of, is it on time to pay the November rent, which is my goal, or will it be shortly thereafter and retrospectively?"

The call followed an unsuccessful attempt by Senate Republicans Wednesday to pass a tighter $ 500 billion relief bill on the unified democratic opposition. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Warned the White House not to vote for a sweeping deal before the election, as laws that could cost $ 2 trillion or more would split his caucus ahead of the election, reported NBC News.

According to NBC, GOP senators at risk are also concerned about returning home on Monday following the expected chamber vote confirming Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett.

If Pelosi and Mnuchin can reach an agreement, they will have to seek support from Senate Republicans who are resistant to much more federal spending on the virus response. When asked on Wednesday how many GOP votes a potential deal could get, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters "it would be hard to tell you" until the negotiators actually reached an agreement.

Of course, getting a bill approved in the so-called lame duck period between the elections and the winners taking office in January could pose their own challenges.

While Washington officials struggle to find common ground, millions of Americans who have been unemployed from the pandemic are trying to scrape together enough money to eat and stay in their homes. The US had an unemployment rate of around 8% in September, weeks after an additional $ 600-a-week unemployment benefit, federal eviction moratorium, and Small Business Paycheck Protection Program loan initiative expired.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and many economists have warned of the potentially devastating effects if Congress waits too long to send further relief.

The negotiators have said in the past few days that they have made progress in settling a dispute over a national Covid-19 testing strategy. But they still haven't figured out how to overcome two of the biggest obstacles that persist in months of discussion: state and local government aid and corporate liability protection.

Pelosi has insisted on more relief for states and communities in dire straits who take action against objections from President Donald Trump and McConnell. Meanwhile, the White House and McConnell have insisted on including the immunity that the Democrats have opposed.

Trump put pressure on lawmakers to reach an agreement late in the game after temporarily ordering his administration to stop talking to Democrats about aid.

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