House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are moving closer to a coronavirus stimulus deal, according to Pelosi’s spokesman.
The two spoke on Wednesday, October 21, for roughly 45 minutes to continue to iron out their differences regarding the next relief bill, Drew Hammill tweeted. He cited progress, noting that “more work needs to be done.”
“Today’s conversation brings us closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation,” Pelosi’s spokesman wrote. “With the exchange of legislative language, we are better prepared to reach compromise on several priorities.”
Hammill said Pelosi and Mnuchin worked toward finding a compromise on “health priorities,” including language for a national strategic testing and contact tracing plan. School safety measures remain an obstacle, he added.
“More work needs to be done to ensure that schools are the safest places in America for children to learn,” Hammill said.
The two will meet again on Thursday, October 22, to try to resolve “open questions” per committee chairs’ guidance.
The clock is ticking as legislators race to pass another round of relief before the November 3 election. The overall price tag remains a sticking point between negotiators. Pelosi and Mnuchin have been discussing a package in the range of $1.8 trillion to $2.2 trillion, including extended unemployment benefits and another round of stimulus checks, The Washington Post reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
Senate Democrats Blocked Republicans’ Attempt to Pass a Smaller Relief Bill
On Wednesday, October 21, Senate Democrats blocked Republicans’ attempt to pass a $500 billion coronavirus stimulus bill, CNBC reported.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on October 17 announced plans for a Senate vote on a roughly $500 billion targeted relief package for small business funding, separating himself from the administration’s push for a big-ticket deal, according to the outlet and McConnell.
The legislation included additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which offered loans to small businesses struggling to stay open during the pandemic, as well as a $300-per-week supplemental unemployment insurance benefit, among other measures, CNBC said.
The vote in the Senate was 51 to 44, the outlet continued, “well short of the 60 votes that would have been needed to advance the legislation.”
President Donald Trump Accused Congressional Leaders of Blocking a New Relief Deal
President Donald Trump on Wednesday, October 21, criticized Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of blocking the path for another relief bill.
“Just don’t see any way Nancy Pelosi and Cryin’ Chuck Schumer will be willing to do what is right for our great American workers, or our wonderful USA itself, on Stimulus,” he tweeted. “Their primary focus is BAILING OUT poorly run (and high crime) Democrat cities and states … Should take care of our people.”
However, McConnell has starkly separated himself from the White House’s stance on stimulus.
The Senate majority leader slammed the administration’s $1.8 trillion proposal as too costly, according to CNN. He indicated at a Kentucky event that Trump is pushing for a bill “much higher” than he can “sell” to his members, the outlet continued.