Coronavirus stimulus: White House, Democrats fail to meet Tuesday deadline but 'move closer to an agreement'

Denitsa Tsekova
·Reporter
·4 min read

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.”

Read more: Here’s what you need to know about unemployment benefits eligibility

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.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2020 -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 9, 2020. U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a revised COVID-19 relief package in the negotiations with congressional Democrats, White House's National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to discuss a new 1.8-trillion-U.S.-dollar relief proposal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when the two speak Friday afternoon, according to The Wall Street Journal. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/T IngShen/liujie via Getty Images)
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 9, 2020. (Xinhua/T IngShen/liujie via Getty Images)

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.

At least 44 states have paid out all their funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
At least 44 states have paid out all their funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

‘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.”

U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speak about legislation for additional coronavirus aid in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speak about legislation for additional coronavirus aid in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

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.”

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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.”

Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.

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