Despite repeatedly being the roadblock to a new stimulus bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set a 48-hour deadline to reach an agreement on a new package before the November 3 election.
Pelosi said yesterday that she was “hopeful” a deal can be reached, despite her unwillingness to compromise on a package. This is something that has drawn the ire of her fellow Democrats.
“The 48 only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do. But we’re saying to them, we have to freeze the design on some of these things. Are we going with it or not and what is the language? I’m optimistic because, again, we’ve been back and forth on all of this,” she said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”
Drew Hamill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said during an update on Saturday that Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin still can’t reach an agreement on a few items. These include “additional measures to address the virus’ disproportionate impact on communities of color.”
“There remains an array of additional differences as we go provision by provision that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner in the next 48 hours,” Hamill added. “Decisions must be made by the White House in order to demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement that provides for Americans with the greatest needs during the pandemic.”
Disagreements on Small Details
Millions of American families would benefit most from another round of direct stimulus payment. However, once again, Pelosi is holding up a deal for a few smaller details.
“The tracing part is so important, because communities of color had been disproportionately affected by this,” Pelosi said. “We had pages and pages of how you would do this in the minority community. They crossed it all out.”
Mnuchin said last week that the Trump administration has agreed to allocate $178 billion overall for health. The administration also agreed to allocate $75 billion for contact tracing and testing. He said that the issue is being “overblown.”
“What we have been focused on is the language around testing,” he said. “When I speak to Pelosi today, I’m going to tell her that we’re not going to let the testing issue stand in the way. We’ll fundamentally agree with their testing language subject to some minor issues. This issue is being overblown.”
President Trump said last week that Pelosi is stalling to try and hurt his reelection chances.
“Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to give anything. She thinks it helps her with the election. And I don’t think so. I think it hurts her with the election because everyone knows she’s holding it up. We’re not holding it up. She’s holding it up,” said President Trump.
Efforts to approve a smaller, more targeted bill will continue this week with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holding a vote on a bill that would include money for schools, liability protection for businesses, and boosted unemployment benefits.