Pelosi Says Stimulus Talks Are Moving ‘Very Slowly’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are continuing to hash out the terms of the next federal coronavirus aid bill this week, but progress is slow.
Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke over the phone on Monday for an hour to “discuss the justifications for various numbers” in the new bill, according to Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill.
In a call with House Democrats Monday evening, Pelosi said talks with Mnuchin are progressing “very slowly,” Politico reported.
Hammill said the two top negotiators, who suddenly resumed urgent conversations last week after negotiations fell apart in August, plan to speak again Tuesday.
The clock is ticking for Congress to pass an aid bill before November, with just 28 days before the election and any Senate votes delayed until at least October 19 because of positive coronavirus tests among Republican senators.
4.9 million. That’s how many people will cross the government’s long-term joblessness threshold (defined as looking for work for 27 weeks or more) over the next two months, according to Labor Department data released last week. While job losses have slowed since the peak of the pandemic and the U.S. last month added more jobs than it lost, layoffs still remain stubbornly high. “Without additional help from fiscal policymakers, odds are good that [net] job losses will resume in coming months,” Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi wrote in a recent note.
With markets increasingly looking towards a Biden victory on November 3, some experts are saying that Democrats’ original plan for the second round of major stimulus—the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act—might see the light of day again in the event of a Democratic sweep. “A clean sweep from the Democrats means the $3.5 trillion stimulus would be more likely to pass early next year,” Peter Garnry, Saxo Bank’s head of equity strategy, told the Wall Street Journal. “That would mean equities would likely swing back into rally mode.”
After the March passage of the bipartisan $2.2 trillion CARES Act—the largest federal relief bill in American history—House Democrats crafted their proposal for followup legislation, the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act, and passed it in that chamber in May. The Republican-controlled Senate never took up the Heroes Act for a vote, however, and GOP Senate leaders put out their own $1 trillion plan in July. That plan never got off the ground, and a $300 billion Republican offering in early September failed in the Senate, too. Pelosi then passed a $2.2 trillion compromise in the House, and Mnuchin countered with a plan worth about $1.6 trillion.
On Monday morning, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows—who along with Mnuchin has been representing the Trump administration’s interests in the ongoing negotiations—advocated for a piecemeal approach to stimulus. Pelosi has long opposed passing multiple Covid-19 relief bills, though she offered an exception to that stance last week in advocating for standalone aid for the airline industry if a larger bill doesn’t happen.
Meadows Pushes For Piecemeal Relief Ahead Of Crucial Week For Bigger Stimulus Deal (Forbes)
Pelosi Says No Second Stimulus Yet, Despite Trump’s Push For A Deal (Forbes)
House Passes $2.2 Trillion Stimulus Bill, But That Doesn’t Mean $1,200 Checks And More Unemployment Benefits Are On The Way (Forbes)
Stimulus Update: Mnuchin Says Next Bill To Include $1,200 Checks ‘If There Is A Deal,’ Offers Pelosi $1.6 Trillion (Forbes)