Washington – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with President Nancy Pelosi Wednesday afternoon to present the Trump administration’s coronavirus relief proposal, according to a Democrat aide, after House Democrats unveiled their renewed $ 2.2 package. trillion earlier this week.
Mnuchin and Pelosi met for about an hour and a half, then Mnuchin went to the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Today, Secretary Mnuchin and I had an extensive conversation and found areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our conversations will continue,” Pelosi said in a statement after the meeting. “Tonight we will proceed with our vote on updating the HEROES Act in order to formalize our offer to Republicans in negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country.”
The House passed a $ 3.4 trillion bill called the HEROES Act in May, but Republicans refused to consider the bill in the Senate. Democrats in the Senate blocked a Republican proposal that cost $ 500 billion, claiming it was inadequate.
On Monday, House Democrats unveiled a revised version of the HEROES Act that would cost about $ 2.2 trillion. The HEROES Act update would tooto American families and a $ 600 weekly allowance in addition to unemployment insurance. The bill includes provisions to provide $ 225 billion for education and $ 436 billion in federal aid to state and local governments.
McConnell said Wednesday that the Democrats’ $ 2 trillion proposal is “too high” and “extravagant”, indicating that he will not support this legislation either.
After meeting with McConnell, Mnuchin told reporters that the negotiators had “made a lot of progress in many areas”.
“We have work to do and we will see where we go,” Mnuchin said. “We’ll go back and do some more work.”
On Wednesday Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC that he was “confident” that a deal could be reached.
“I say we will make a more serious attempt to achieve this and I think we are confident we can achieve something,” said Mnuchin.
Mnuchin said his proposal would resemble the picture that the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, which was priced at around $ 2 trillion. Pelosi and several House committee leaders rejected that plan, arguing that it “falls short of what is needed to save lives and revive the economy.” The Problem Solvers Caucus proposal included another round of $ 1,200 direct payments to Americans, a $ 450 subsidy in addition to unemployment insurance, and more funding for the salary protection program.
Mnuchin and Pelosi were involved in fruitless negotiations for a COVID-19 relief bill over the summer. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesby $ 1 trillion if Republicans raised theirs by $ 1 trillion, which means they would support legislation that would cost about $ 2 trillion. It is unclear whether House Democrats would be willing to consider a proposal from Mnuchin that costs less than $ 2 trillion.
Pelosi and Mnuchin resumed negotiations on a coronavirus proposal earlier this week.
Some House Republicans have also been angered by what they see as behind-the-scenes agreements to draft any legislation.
“Classic swamp … I heard from K Street about a ‘deal’ between Mnuchin and Pelosi. Just like you learned how bills become a law, huh? This isn’t ‘draining the swamp’, this IS the swamp … and hopefully @realDonaldTrump will keep Mnuchin in check, “GOP Congressman Chip Roy tweeted Wednesday morning.
If Pelosi and Mnuchin reach an agreement, the bill is expected to pass in the House by the end of the week, as members of Congress will return to their districts to campaign for the rest of October. It is unclear whether such legislation would have been passed by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Kimberly Brown contributed to this report.