House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) again expressed optimism that a bipartisan stimulus bill would pass before the election, even as disagreements on key provisions remain with the White House.
“We’re just about there,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. “The president wants a bill. The president wants a bill. That's part of the opportunity that we have.”
But lingering disagreements, along with the proximity to the election and lack of support from the GOP, could lower the chances of such a bill becoming law before the election.
The president also weighed in a tweet on Wednesday, saying he doesn’t see a way Democrats “will be willing to do what is right for our great American workers” and that they’re too focused on funding for state and local governments.
“It only takes money, and really not that much more money of what they have in the bill,” Pelosi said. “But it's not just the money, it's how it's spent.”
While the two parties have come closer on testing and tracing, disagreements remain on funding for state and local governments and liability protections. Pelosi and Mnuchin are expected to speak again today. They must reach an agreement by Friday for it to pass before the election.
‘Can’t answer for the disarray on the Senate side’
A deal struck between the White House and Democrats would likely face stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate. It would need 60 votes to pass the Senate, meaning at least 13 Republican senators would have to vote in favor of the legislation.
‘I can’t answer for the disarray on the Senate side,” Pelosi said on Thursday. “It’s about the president of the United States engaging in a discussion. That’s up to him to deliver [on] what can happen on the Senate side.”
The GOP introduced its own $500 billion coronavirus stimulus package, which failed to advance in the Senate on Wednesday. Many Republican senators have expressed concerns about the price tag of an agreement that Democrats and the White House may reach.
“If there's a bipartisan deal, I believe there would be enough votes there to make sure that we get that across the finish line and to the President's desk,” Meadows told reporters on Wednesday.
McConnell agreed to put a bipartisan deal to a vote in the Senate — despite opposition from his party — but didn’t specify whether that will happen before or after the election.
“If a presidentially supported bill clears the House, at some point, we’ll bring it to the floor,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.