Stimulus Cliffhanger Drags On—With Staff Working ‘Around The Clock’—As Pelosi And Mnuchin Struggle To Cut A Deal


Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are continuing to struggle for agreement on the next round of federal coronavirus aid, even though that deal won’t become law if it doesn’t win support from some skeptical Senate Republicans, who are preparing two stimulus proposals of their own (neither with any significant Democratic support) for votes on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Key Facts

Hammill added that they will speak again tomorrow, with staff work continuing “around the clock,” in order to determine by Tuesday evening whether the White House and Democrats can reach a deal in time for it to be passed before the election.

On Sunday, Pelosi indicated that the White House and top Democrats would need to reach an agreement on a comprehensive bill within 48 hours in order to ensure that the bill could be voted into law before the Nov. 3rd election.

In a letter to Democratic colleagues that afternoon, Pelosi laid out some of the issues still standing in the way of an agreement, including state and local aid, a national testing plan, changes to certain tax credits, and money for childcare. 

Key Background

Republicans under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are preparing two upcoming votes in the Senate this week: a standalone bill authorizing the use of $135 billion in leftover funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, and a $500 billion aid bill that would replenish the PPP, send more supplemental federal unemployment checks, and earmark more money for testing, tracing, and vaccine production. These bills are completely separate from the comprehensive package that Pelosi and Mnuchin have been negotiating for months. In a Monday morning interview with Fox & Friends, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows indicated that McConnell—who has previously said he wouldn’t back any comprehensive deal that Democrats make with the White House—would now be willing to bring that hypothetical deal to the Senate floor for a vote. It’s not yet clear whether that is true—the Senate Majority Leader said Saturday that the Senate would “consider” a bipartisan agreement if it is reached.

Crucial Quote

“The Republicans will come along.” That’s what President Trump said in response to a question about the progress of stimulus talks after arriving in Prescott, AZ on Monday. He’s suggested before that the GOP would come to support any deal his administration makes with Pelosi, but there’s no reason to think that this will happen—especially since Senate Republicans have never supported any bill worth more than about $1 trillion and have been showing cracks in their allegiance to Trump. The White House’s most recent proffer to Democrats was worth $1.8 trillion. 


Pelosi also said Sunday in her letter to colleagues that the White House had made “unacceptable changes” to Democrats’ proposed language around a national Covid-19 testing and tracing plan, which has been a key priority for Pelosi’s caucus in recent weeks. Just days earlier, Mnuchin told CNBC that he was prepared to accept Democratic language on testing. 

Further Reading 

Pelosi Doubles Down On 48-Hour Stimulus Deadline (Forbes)

Stimulus Would Be ‘Almost Impossible’ To Execute Before Election, Even If Bipartisan Deal Is Reached, Kudlow Says (Forbes)

McConnell Won’t Support $1.8 Trillion White House Stimulus Bill—Even If Pelosi And Trump Make A Deal (Forbes)

Trump Says He’s Ready To Push White House Stimulus Offer Over $1.8 Trillion (Forbes)

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