House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin didn’t reach an agreement on Tuesday, the day Pelosi said was the deadline to get a deal through before the election. But both have moved closer to an agreement, Pelosi’s spokesperson said.
“Their conversation provided more clarity and common ground as they move closer to an agreement,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s chief of staff said in a tweet thread on Tuesday. “Today’s deadline enabled the Speaker and Secretary to see that decisions could be reached and language could be exchanged, demonstrating that both sides are serious about finding a compromise.”
Pelosi told Bloomberg News on Tuesday that a deal would have to be written by the end of this week to pass before the election, giving the two parties more time to draft the proposal.
“We are starting to write a bill,” Pelosi said.
Mnuchin and Pelosi have been negotiating on behalf of the White House and Democrats for over three months. The Democrats’ latest proposal is the revised $2.2 trillion HEROES Act, while the White House’s counterproposal is worth “almost $1.9 trillion,” according to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Sticking points between the two parties included aid for state and local governments, funding for schools, workers’ protections and child care support, rental assistance, funding for increased testing and tracing as well as funding for small businesses, elections, and the census.
While the two parties have come closer on testing and tracing, disagreements remain on funding for state and local governments and liability. For the questions that remain open, Pelosi and Mnuchin “called for the committee chairs to work to resolve differences about funding levels and language,” Hammill said.
Pelosi and Mnuchin are expected to talk again on Wednesday.
‘We’ll bring it to the floor’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday agreed to put a bipartisan deal to a vote in the Senate despite opposition from his party, but didn’t specify the timing.
“If a presidentially supported bill clears the House, at some point, we’ll bring it to the floor,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
Last week, McConnell struck a different tone, saying: “That’s not what I'm going to put on the floor.”
The 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.
“We have to see what it was first,” McConnell said on Tuesday when asked whether Republican lawmakers will support the deal.
President Trump called for an even higher price tag than the $2.2 trillion Democratic proposals and supported more government spending, despite GOP concerns.
“[Pelosi] is at $2.2 trillion and I will be willing to go more,” he told Fox News on Tuesday morning. “We get the money back to the government, it gets the money back ultimately anyway.”
McConnell is expected to put his own stimulus proposal — worth around $500 billion — to a vote on Wednesday. The bill, likely to be almost identical to the one that failed in the Senate in September, includes funding for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), extra unemployment benefits, money for schools, and liability protections for businesses.
“I don't anticipate that we will get any Democratic votes,” McConnell said on Tuesday. “But we wanted to make the point to the American people that Senate Republicans believe another package is important.”