Mnuchin And Pelosi Talk Stimulus For Nearly An Hour—Could A Deal And A Second Round Of $1,200 Checks Be On The Way?

Topline

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke by phone for 50 minutes on Tuesday morning, according to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill, in a final push to make a deal on the next round of federal coronavirus aid before members of Congress return to their home districts next week to campaign ahead of the November election.

Key Facts

The Democratic leader and White House negotiator resumed conversations on Sunday after weeks of deadlock. 

On Monday evening, House Democrats released a pared-down version of the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act, which passed that chamber in May but was never taken up by the Republican Senate.

Senate Republicans have also floated their own pared-down plan with $300 billion in new spending, but Democrats blocked it from coming to a vote in that chamber earlier this month because they thought it was too small. 

House Democrats are reportedly preparing for a Wednesday vote on their new plan if the top policymakers can’t come to an agreement. 

It’s not clear, however, whether Pelosi and Mnuchin made any progress towards a deal during their conversation.

Hammill added that Pelosi and Mnuchin are planning to speak again Wednesday.

Crucial Quote

“Our conversation was a positive one,” Pelosi told MSNBC on Tuesday morning after the call.

Big Number

$1.5 trillion. That’s the largest stimulus bill the White House has said it will support so far. The GOP has drawn the line at $1 trillion. 

Key Background

On Monday evening, House Democrats released a pared-down version of the Heroes Act, which passed that chamber in May but was never taken up by the Republican Senate. The $2.2 trillion revised bill includes new aid money for airlines and restaurants as well as more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, another round of direct stimulus payments, $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits, and more state and local aid. If Pelosi and Mnuchin cannot reach a separate agreement before Wednesday, the House is expected to vote on the new bill despite a lack of Republican support. Even if the bill doesn’t advance to President Trump’s desk, vulnerable House Democrats will be able to cast their votes for more aid before they return to their districts to campaign ahead of the November election. 

Tangent

The Senate is expected this week to vote on a spending bill to fund the government through mid-December. That spending bill was the result of an earlier agreement between Pelosi and Mnuchin and does not include any coronavirus aid provisions. 

Further Reading

Democrats Release Smaller $2.2 Trillion Stimulus Proposal In Final Bid For Compromise Before Election Day (Forbes)

Stimulus Update: House Democrats Considering New, Smaller Relief Package (Forbes)

Stimulus Bill Before Election Day? Unlikely, Wall Street Says (Forbes)

Kudlow—Contradicting Other Top Officials—Says Stimulus Not Needed For Economic Recovery (Forbes)

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