Mnuchin, Pelosi Talk in Last-Ditch Effort on Stimulus Compromise

Elias Hubbard
October 1, 2020

The Democrats pulled a vote on their $2.2tn package; the White House has come up with a $1.5tn counteroffer.

It remained uncertain whether a deal could be reached. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told fellow Democrats Wednesday his intention is to send the bill to the floor Wednesday or Thursday if there is no deal with Mnuchin. He said on CNBC the administration's counter-offer to Pelosi is similar to a plan put forward by a bipartisan group of House members - which included an escalation in spending up to $2 trillion if the coronavirus pandemic persists.

"We will be proceeding with our vote tonight on the updated Heroes Act in order to formalize our proffer to Republicans in the negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country", the statement said, but then hours later, Democrats reversed course and delayed that vote to Thursday.

Less than five weeks before the Nov 3 presidential and congressional elections, Mnuchin and Pelosi both said negotiations would continue toward a bipartisan agreement to deliver aid to millions of Americans and businesses reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. On a private call with House Democrats on Wednesday morning, Pelosi said the American people are worth the $2.2 trillion, according to two people on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussion.

"I don't think we're going to make significant progress until tomorrow at this point", he added. Republicans and the Trump administration favor liability protections Democrats oppose, while opposing the generous state and local aid Democrats want. McConnell said on the Senate floor that the Democratic plan is filled with "poison pills" not related to the pandemic.

Mnuchin said he hopes to have an "understanding" worked out by Thursday. Talks involving Mnuchin and Pelosi collapsed in August and were renewed only a few days ago. "You've seen a very good rebound, and you're going to see a very good quarter", he said, while contending that "more fiscal response will help the economy".

The bill the House is expected to pass would restore the $600 federal unemployment benefits that expired in July and would include another round of direct checks to Americans at $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent.

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According to Mnuchin, these payments will be similar to those distributed under the CARES Act, which has approved roughly $3 trillion to disburse as loans and grants to businesses, paycheck protection for workers and personal aid to qualifying U.S. citizens and residents. However, the policymakers passed a stopgap funding bill to avoid a government shutdown. The legislation extends government funding through December 11.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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