White House ‘hopeful’ Pelosi will agree on stimulus before election: Morgenstern
White House Deputy Communications director Brian Morgenstern discusses why he is optimistic about a stimulus deal before the election.
Talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over another round of coronavirus stimulus are trudging forward.
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Both sides "continued to narrow their differences" on key aspects of the package's language, according to the latest update from Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill.
"The Speaker has tasked committee chairs to reconcile differences with their GOP counterparts on key areas," Hamill said. "The Speaker continues to hope that, by the end of the day Tuesday, we will have clarity on whether we will be able to pass a bill before the election."
He noted that Pelosi will speak with Mnuchin again on Tuesday and that both staffs will continue to work around the clock.
MCCONNELL'S $500B SKINNY STIMULUS INCLUDES MORE UNEMPLOYMENT, CORONAVIRUS-LIABILITY PROTECTIONS
The latest in the stimulus negotiations comes after Pelosi set a 48-hour deadline Sunday to reach an agreement on the package's language.
Pelosi told ABC This Week that she is hopeful that a deal would be reached, but that the American people receiving the relief before Election Day would ultimately "depend on the administration."
While both Pelosi and Mnuchin agreed to Democrats' language for a national COVID-19 testing plan with "minor edits" on Thursday, she noted that details on contact tracing and "additional measures to address the virus’ disproportionate impact on communities of color" had not yet been hammered out.
"There remains an array of additional differences as we go provision by provision that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner in the next 48 hours," Hamill said in a Saturday evening update. "Decisions must be made by the White House in order to demonstrate that the administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement that provides for Americans with the greatest needs during the pandemic."
The White House previously proposed a $1.8 trillion offer, which was rejected by Pelosi for not going as far as a $2.2 trillion passed in the House last month. While President Trump has floated raising that offer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel has said he has no intention of bringing a $1.8 trillion package to the Senate floor.
"That's where the administration is willing to go," McConnell said. "My members think half a trillion dollars, highly targeted, is the best way to go."
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Instead, McConnell is planning for the Senate to vote on a $500 billion "targeted" stimulus bill on Wednesday, which includes a second round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses, money for schools, coronavirus liability protections for businesses and boosted unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that he was planning a force vote to adjourn the Senate until after the presidential election "with the ability to come back into session if there is a bipartisan agreement on a COVID relief package."
Those plans have been hindered, however. Lawmakers voted 48-42 against the motion.
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