Pelosi Says No Second Stimulus Yet, Despite Trump’s Push For A Deal
In a Sunday interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said negotiators in Washington had not reached a deal on the next round of federal coronavirus aid despite renewed public pressure from President Trump—with just 30 days until the election, the clock is ticking for top policymakers to come to an agreement.
While hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center for Covid-19 treatment on Saturday, President Trump urged Congress to pass another aid bill: “WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE,” he tweeted.
When asked whether the tweet from the President meant that a stimulus deal had been struck, Pelosi responded, “No, it means that we want to see that they can agree on what we need to do to crush the virus.”
Top Democrats led by Pelosi and the Trump administration, represented by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, resumed talks last week after months of deadlock in an effort to agree on another aid bill before the November election.
Last week, Pelosi said that Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis “changes the dynamic” of the ongoing negotiations, and suggested that Trump’s first-hand experience of the virus might encourage the White House and Senate Republicans to support the next relief bill at the higher price point that Democrats have been pushing for.
According to the Washington Post, White House officials are optimistic that at minimum, the outline of a deal can be reached by the middle of this week.
2.4 million. That’s how many people have been unemployed for at least 27 weeks, beyond the expiration of traditional state unemployment benefits. According to Labor Department data released Friday, another 4.9 million people are headed for that threshold—the government’s definition of long-term joblessness—over the next nine weeks. The discouraging data underscores the urgency with which millions of people in the United States are watching to see whether Congress will pass more emergency aid measures, especially in the form of supplemental unemployment benefits.
House Democrats passed their original proposal for the second major round of federal coronavirus aid, the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act, in May. That bill was ignored by Senate Republicans, who put out their own $1 trillion plan in July. That plan never came up for a vote, and a subsequent Republican offering—which included only $300 billion in new spending—failed in the Senate. After the Democratic-controlled House released (and eventually passed) a revised version of the Heroes Act worth $2.2 trillion last week, Mnuchin presented Pelosi with a $1.6 trillion counter-offer from the White House which included another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, $75 billion in funding for virus testing and tracing, $250 billion in state and local aid (about half of what Democrats want) and $400 in weekly federal unemployment benefits (Democrats want $600) through the end of the year.
What To Watch For
As talks between Mnuchin and Pelosi progressed this week, the major issues still outstanding are new federal aid for state and local governments, which was the subject of a Thursday call between the top negotiators and Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, Politico reported, and enhanced federal unemployment benefits. Divisions between Democrats and the White House over certain tax provisions, including changes to the Child Income Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, are also holding up negotiations.
Trump has remained largely absent from the fraught negotiations over the size and scope of the next bill, preferring instead to allow Mnuchin and Meadows to represent his administration’s interests. Last month, however, Trump surprised Washington and his own party by calling for Republicans, who for months had pushed for a pared-down bill and less spending, to support a more expensive plan.
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