Pelosi: ‘We’ve Come To Terms’ On Stimulus Checks, Healthcare Spending—But Differences Remain On State And Local Aid, Liability Protections


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a Thursday press briefing reported some progress in her ongoing negotiations with the White House on the next round of federal coronavirus stimulus legislation (on healthcare spending, a national testing plan and another round of direct payments), but major hurdles still remain before any deal she makes with the Trump Administration can become law. 

Key Facts

“I think we’re just about there,” the Speaker said of the testing, tracing and healthcare provisions in the bill, which had until recently been a major stumbling block in negotiations. 

On the provision of another round of direct payments to individuals, Pelosi said, “We’ve come, I think, to terms.” 

Pelosi told reporters that she had not yet reached an agreement with the White House on state and local aid, liability protections for businesses or the election and census provisions in the bill. 

Congressional staff has already begun drafting parts of the legislation. 

The Speaker has maintained an optimistic tone this week even though there’s no indication that Senate Republicans—whose votes will be necessary for the new bill to become law—would support the deal.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told Fox Business’ Varney & Co. Thursday that “significant policy differences” have not yet been resolved, adding that “the clock is ticking” for the two teams to reach an agreement for before the November 3 election.

Crucial Quote

“If we thought these talks did not have a purpose, and if we were not making progress, I wouldn’t spend five seconds in these conversations,” Pelosi said after being asked about how effective her effort with Mnuchin might ultimately be, given the strong opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Senate Republicans. “I do believe that both sides want to reach an agreement. I can’t answer for the disarray on the Senate side.” 

Chief Critic

President Trump weighed in again on the stalemate on Twitter on Wednesday evening, suggesting that Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are pursuing additional federal aid to state and local governments—a major priority for Democrats, who say the money is necessary to stave off massive government layoffs and support schools—as a bailout for “poorly run” Democratic jurisdictions. 

What To Watch For

Pelosi and Mnuchin are scheduled to speak again on Thursday. A spokesman for Pelosi said the two top negotiators are “closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation” after a Wednesday meeting that produced progress on testing and tracing language.  

Further Reading

These Are The Biggest Obstacles To A Stimulus Deal (Forbes)

House Speaker Pelosi Says ‘There Will Be’ A Stimulus Bill, Either Before Or After The Election (Forbes)

More Stimulus Unlikely Before Election, Goldman Sachs Says (Forbes)

Democrats Vote Against GOP’s PPP Stimulus Bill As McConnell Tells White House Not To Make A Deal (Forbes)

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