Home / US / Pelosi and Mnuchin meet for an economic relief deal as both sides express optimism

Pelosi and Mnuchin meet for an economic relief deal as both sides express optimism

It arrives with the House within days of the election adjournment and with the two sides still at odds on key issues including aid to cities and states, corporate liability protections, and total cost of the bill. It is also not clear that the Republican-led Senate would come on board even if Pelosi and Mnuchin manage to come to terms.

But with millions still out of work and signs of slowing economic recovery, both Pelosi and Mnuchin said they wanted to make one last attempt to find common ground before the election. The stock market rose on the prospect of a deal.

Mnuchin entered Pelosi̵

7;s office shortly after 1pm. When asked how close they were to an agreement, Mnuchin replied: ″ I don’t know, we’ll see. By going to see the speaker, let’s see if we can make good progress today. “

Earlier, in an interview with CNBC, Mnuchin said the counteroffer he was preparing to hand over to Pelosi would have been similar to a roughly $ 1.5 trillion proposal developed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the House earlier this week. month. That proposal included provisions that allowed the price tag to increase to around $ 2 trillion based on the progression of the coronavirus, which would bring the two sides closer in terms of overall spending levels.

“I think there is a reasonable compromise here … It’s something the president really wants done,” Mnuchin said.

Pelosi described herself as “full of hope” in an interview on MSNBC, while saying that Democrats and Republicans have no “shared values” about the needs of Americans.

“I always want to keep the door open for a solution. It is a negotiation, we will not have everything we want, but they are very disdainful, they disdain the families who work in our country, “Pelosi said.

Even in the absence of a deal, House Democratic leaders were preparing to move forward as soon as Wednesday with a vote on their $ 2.2 trillion bill, which is a stripped down version of the $ 3.4 Heroes Act. trillion approved by the House in May.

It includes new stimulus checks, unemployment insurance, state and local aid and money for schools, the United States Postal Service, election security, and more. There is also payroll assistance for airlines that are facing the prospect of widespread permits as soon as Thursday, unless a new aid package is approved.

Republicans oppose the bill as too expensive and say it contains provisions unrelated to the novel coronavirus.

“This will be nothing more than fiddling while Roma burn,” Rep Tom Cole (R-Okla.) Said Wednesday morning as the House Rules Committee met to agree rules to discuss legislation.

“We have to move forward because some may be content with doing nothing, but we are not,” said rules committee chair Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).

Pelosi has come under severe pressure from moderates in his caucus, including some in tough re-election struggles, to take new action to address the continuing economic and public health ravages of the coronavirus.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Has been among those pushing the House to vote on a new bill, since months have passed since the Democrats in the House passed the Heroes Act, which Republicans of the White House and Senate ignored. Hoyer said he hoped Pelosi and Mnuchin could reach an agreement, but said it was his intention for the House to vote on the new $ 2.2 trillion bill on Wednesday, allowing members to go home to campaign for the re-election can prove that at least they tried.

“We will do our best and make sure that our party’s position is known to the American people in terms of trying to help them in this time of great crisis,” Hoyer told reporters in a telephone conference.

Pelosi has shown little sign of being willing to back down from its $ 2.2 trillion price tag, with Democrats claiming to have already compromised. On Wednesday morning, in a private phone call with House Democrats, Pelosi said the American people are worth $ 2.2 trillion, according to two people on the call who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe it.

He also said state and local aid and legal liability protections continue to be obstacles to an agreement. Republicans and the Trump administration favor accountability protections that Democrats oppose, while opposing the generous state and local aid that Democrats want. The new Democrats bill has about $ 500 billion for state and local governments, about half the size of the original Heroes Act.

Congress passed four bills totaling $ 3 trillion in unprecedented aid in the spring, but the bipartisan urgency that existed at the start of the pandemic has since dissipated and the Senate has not passed a bill since. relative law. Talks involving Mnuchin and Pelosi failed in August and were resumed just a few days ago.

Millions of people remain unemployed and coronavirus deaths continue to rise, but the Trump administration continues to look optimistic about the economy.

“The economy is doing much better than expected. … You have seen a great rebound and you will see a great quarter, “Mnuchin said on Wednesday, arguing that” greater fiscal response will help the economy. “

Stephen Moore, an external economic adviser to the White House, said he told Trump at a White House meeting about 10 days ago that a stimulus deal would do little to raise the president’s election prospects. Moore said he told the president that the benefits of any stimulus deal reached now would not boost the economy until 2021 or December at the earliest.

“I told him, ‘Mr. President, there is no deal you can get to help the economy before the election,” Moore said.

However, depending on the timing of the deal, it is conceivable that the Trump administration may still send out millions of stimulus checks before the election. The Internal Revenue Service sent nearly 80 million households within two weeks of the Cares Act being passed in March.

Trump privately said last week that he feels unlikely to get a deal before the election, according to a person who spoke to White House officials who were granted anonymity to share details of private conversations. The president said he considers Democrats in Congress to be unimportant about a deal and sees the negotiations as a likely waste of time.

Separately, government funding runs out at midnight Wednesday, and agencies will begin shutting down unless the Senate approves – and Trump signs – a tentative spending bill already passed by the House. The bill is expected to pass in the Senate and become law in time to avoid closure, even if Congress and the administration have left little room for error. The legislation must become law by midnight on Wednesday.

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