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Politics Pelosi presses Mnuchin for White House response on coronavirus aid

15:05  29 october  2020
15:05  29 october  2020 Source:   thehill.com

A Tuesday deadline for pandemic relief deal but prospects dim

  A Tuesday deadline for pandemic relief deal but prospects dim House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin were to speak Monday after Pelosi set a Tuesday deadline for any pandemic relief deal. Pressed on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, Pelosi put the ball in the administration’s court, telling ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, "We don't have agreement in the language yet, but I'm hopeful,” referring to outstanding issues regarding a national virus testing plan - something on which Democrats have insisted. "I'm optimistic because, again, we’ve been back and forth on all of this," she said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday pressed the White House for a response to the Democrats' latest offer on emergency coronavirus relief, warning that Washington's failure to act quickly on another round of disaster aid will only heighten the health and economic fallout as the pandemic surges around the country.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Pelosi presses Mnuchin for White House response on coronavirus aid © Bonnie Cash Pelosi presses Mnuchin for White House response on coronavirus aid

"Your responses are critical for our negotiations to continue," Pelosi wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin this week. "The President's words that 'after the election, we will get the best stimulus package you have ever seen' only have meaning if he can get Mitch McConnell to take his hand off the pause button and get Senate Republican Chairmen moving toward agreement with their House counterparts."

Pelosi and Mnuchin to hold final talks on $2 trillion COVID package

  Pelosi and Mnuchin to hold final talks on $2 trillion COVID package Pelosi's 48-hour deadline to reach a deal with GOP on the latest coronavirus stimulus package expires Tuesday as she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin scramble to wrap up negotiations. The House Speaker plans to meet with Mnuchin more on Tuesday after the duo spoke for an hour Monday afternoon – even though the head of the Treasury had to call in from Tel Aviv, Israel.Pelosi created an arbitrary deadline over the weekend, claiming the two-day notice to Republicans is her last ditch effort to get a bill passed in Congress before the election two weeks from Tuesday.

The letter arrives just five days before Election Day, as both parties are seeking to blame the other for the stalemate that has prevented an agreement on another multi-trillion-dollar infusion of emergency funding to prop up struggling states, businesses, families and health care providers.

A Morning Consult poll released earlier this week found Americans blame Republicans and Trump slightly more than Pelosi and the Democrats for not being able to strike a deal. Independent voters surveyed blamed the GOP, 43 percent to 34 percent.

Pelosi and Mnuchin had been in exhaustive talks through September and much of October in search of an elusive bipartisan deal that could pass through both chambers of Congress and win President Trump's signature. But the sides were in disagreement over both the size of the package - the White House had offered roughly $1.9 trillion, while Democrats sought $2.2 trillion - and specific language dictating how the money would be spent.

Pelosi says Dems and White House are moving closer to a stimulus deal, downplays Tuesday deadline

  Pelosi says Dems and White House are moving closer to a stimulus deal, downplays Tuesday deadline Nancy Pelosi and Steven Mnuchin will talk Tuesday afternoon as they try to reach a coronavirus stimulus agreement before Election Day.The California Democrat downplayed the importance of a deadline she had set to strike an agreement before the end of the day, signaling she would keep talks going. To have legislation ready before Election Day, lawmakers would have to come to a deal and write a bill before the end of the week, she added.

As the impasse grew longer, Trump, who had initially urged Congress to vote on another aid package before Election Day, shifted tactics, vowing to resume negotiations only in the lame-duck session.

"After the election, we'll get the best stimulus package you've ever seen," the president said Tuesday.

But Congress is already facing a Dec. 11 deadline to fund the government and prevent a shutdown, legislation that will consume much of the post-election oxygen on Capitol Hill. And given the uncertainty of the election results, many lawmakers are dubious that the feuding parties will be able to put aside differences and unite behind another massive stimulus bill before 2021.

Both Senate Republicans and White House officials have accused Pelosi of not agreeing to their demands in an attempt to prevent handing president a political victory before the election.

"Nancy Pelosi doesn't want to approve it. I do," Trump said during last week's presidential debate when asked about a lack of stimulus deal from Congress. "It's near the election, because she thinks it helps her politically. I think it hurts her politically."

Pelosi sees ‘a path’ to a stimulus deal — but deadline may slip

  Pelosi sees ‘a path’ to a stimulus deal — but deadline may slip Her negotiations with the Treasury secretary go on, but Capitol Hill remains skeptical.Pelosi is scheduled to speak to Mnuchin at 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon as Washington waits to see whether months of negotiations between the two will culminate in a multitrillion-dollar stimulus plan just two weeks before the presidential election.

The breakdown in the talks has come at a volatile time for the Congress and the country, as millions of workers remain unemployed, the stock market has plunged, and the number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths is spiking around the country.

Pelosi's letter highlighted the grim numbers: Coronavirus cases are approaching 9 million; fatalities nearing 250,000; roughly 8 million people falling into poverty since May; and millions more kids facing food insecurity than before the pandemic hit.

"Meanwhile, as the coronavirus surges and the stock market plummets, we are still awaiting the Trump Administration's promised responses on multiple items of critical importance," she wrote.

Pelosi's latest offer sought concessions from the administration on a number of outstanding issues, including the development of a national coronavirus testing strategy, health coverage for jobless workers under ObamaCare, a tax credit for low-income families, and funding for schools, childcare and unemployment benefits.

There are also remaining divisions over the Republicans' demand for employer liability protections, with Pelosi insisting that any such provision be accompanied by stronger worker protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

None of those issues, Pelosi wrote to Mnuchin, have been resolved.

"The American people are suffering, and they want us to come to an agreement to save lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy as soon as possible," Pelosi wrote. "In light of these challenges, I respectfully await your attention to these urgent matters."

Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' .
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that he learned about a letter Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent to him about coronavirus stimulus talks "in the press.""I woke up this morning and read @SpeakerPelosi 's letter to me in the press," Mnuchin said on Twitter. "Enclosed is my response. Her ALL OR NONE approach is hurting hard-working Americans who need help NOW!" I woke up this morning and read @SpeakerPelosi's letter to me in"I woke up this morning and read @SpeakerPelosi 's letter to me in the press," Mnuchin said on Twitter. "Enclosed is my response.

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