In an October 28 interview with The Wall Street Journal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed she is not much closer to completing a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic.
Pelosi indicated that although they had eliminated some points of contention and agreed upon many of the bill’s components — stimulus checks and funding for small businesses, for example — many issues still remain.
She also confirmed that it was unlikely a deal could be reached before the November 3 election and said that after the election, whatever deal she reaches with Mnuchin and the White House could look very different.
Pelosi Recently Rejected a $1.9 Trillion Deal From the White House
Pelosi spoke to The Wall Street Journal after turning down another Republican coronavirus relief offer.
The deal was a $1.9 trillion counterproposal to the Democrats’ proposed $2.2 trillion HEALS Act, according to Yahoo Finance. That counterproposal inched Republicans and Democrats closer to a middle ground on their original proposals’ price tags.
However, it ultimately fell through by October 20, the deadline Pelosi set to have agreed-upon language finished in order to reach a deal before Election Day. Republicans, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, accused Pelosi of “moving the goalposts” during an interview on CNN.
Pelosi said in a statement that Republicans had made “unacceptable changes,” specifically around coronavirus testing and treatment. “These unacceptable changes include, but are not limited to, the White House’s refusal to commit to a science-based national plan for testing, tracing, and treatment to crush the virus,” Pelosi wrote. “The White House has removed 55 percent of the Heroes Act’s language for testing, tracing, and treatment.”
In a scathing letter, Pelosi accused Republicans of “failing miserably” to control the coronavirus pandemic and of making poor leadership choices. Trump, according to NBC News, told reporters on October 27 that Pelosi was using the stimulus package to increase government spending on cities and not people’s needs. “Nancy Pelosi is only interested in bailing out badly-run, crime-ridden Democrat cities and states,” he said. “That’s all she is interested in. She is not interested in helping the people.”
Pelosi Says She & Mnuchin ‘Narrowed Our Differences’ but Didn’t Eliminate Them
On a stimulus package, Pelosi told The Wall Street Journal, “There’s very little that we have a commitment from them on. We have, shall we say, narrowed our differences.”
Although both Pelosi and Trump have faced external pressures to get a deal done, Mnuchin has also faced criticism from Republicans who say he is giving in to too many of Pelosi’s demands. The Washington Post reported that one unnamed Senate Republican aide said Mnuchin negotiated harder with Republicans than with Pelosi, and another said that he was “giving away the store.”
Pelosi told The Wall Street Journal that she is aware of the challenges any finalized deal could face. “What (Mnuchin) and I have agreed upon—on how we would go forward—is not necessarily what the Republican Senate will vote on,” Pelosi said. “That is up to the president to convince them that the agreement we have with him is one that will be honored by them.”
Pelosi also implied that a political sweep of the executive and legislative branches of government — a Democratic win of the presidency, House and Senate — could mean that she and the Democrats would be able to push through the $3 trillion HEROES Act, originally passed in May.
“It’s certainly night-and-day in terms of negotiating an agreement in 2021 if we have the White House, the Senate and the House,” Pelosi told The Wall Street Journal.
However, she also said that — should Biden win — she wasn’t ruling out a deal with the current administration during Trump’s “lame duck” session. “We’re motivated by meeting the needs of the American people and doing so as expeditiously as possible,” Pelosi said.