US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke for 53 minutes Monday, but it is unclear whether both sides will agree to a stimulus package in time for election day.
Nancy Pelosi, spokeswoman for the US House of Representatives, and Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary, “narrowed their differences further,” wrote Pelosi’s spokesman on Twitter in a 53-minute phone call on Monday about a new coronavirus aid package.
Pelosi hopes there will be “clarity” by the end of Tuesday on whether a coronavirus stimulus bill can be passed ahead of the November 3rd elections, wrote its spokesman Drew Hammill. He said Pelosi and Mnuchin agreed to speak again on Tuesday and the staff working on the matter would continue to work “around the clock”.
Pelosi, the best-elected U.S. Democrat, said Sunday that differences remained with President Donald Trump’s administration over a comprehensive coronavirus aid package, but that she was optimistic that the legislation could be enforced before election day. However, she said an agreement must be reached by the end of Tuesday to meet that deadline.
The White House has proposed a $ 1.8 trillion stimulus plan to help Americans grappling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Pelosi said the supply was inadequate in a number of areas, including tax credits for poor people, aid to state and local governments, worker protection and rental assistance. It has maintained its call for a $ 2.2 trillion rescue and stimulus package.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Congress passed $ 3 trillion in coronavirus relief, and many of the Republicans who control the Senate are refusing to pass another huge stimulus package. Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday the Senate would vote on a $ 500 billion proposal on Wednesday that targets specific areas of need.
McConnell said the Senate will also hold a separate vote Tuesday on a new round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a popular program launched earlier in the pandemic with bilateral support to provide loans to small businesses.
But the Senate Democrats have advocated a larger overall aid package. Senate Democratic chairman Chuck Schumer called the Republican plan “emaciated” and said it was leaving needy state and local governments and lacking funds for unemployment benefits. Senate Democrats blocked similar proposals last month.
In a note to the Senate, McConnell sentenced Pelosi to her “all or nothing” position in approving further coronavirus aid. “The Marie Antoinette act of speaking has to end,” McConnell said.