Washington – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi Wednesday afternoon to come up with the Trump administration’s proposal on coronavirus aid, according to a Democratic adviser after House Democrats unveiled their own revised $ 2.2 trillion package earlier this week .
Mnuchin and Pelosi met for about an hour and a half, and then Mnuchin went to the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Today Secretary Mnuchin and I had an in-depth discussion and we have identified areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our discussions are ongoing,”
The House passed a $ 3.4 trillion proposal called the HEROES Act in May, but Republicans have refused to consider the bill in the Senate. Senate Democrats blocked a Republican proposal that cost $ 500 billion, arguing it was insufficient.
On Monday House Democrats unveiled a revised version of the HEROES bill that would cost around $ 2.2 trillion. The updated HEROES Act would tooto American families and a weekly benefit of $ 600 in addition to unemployment insurance. The bill includes provisions to provide $ 225 billion for education and $ 436 billion for state aid to state and local governments.
McConnell said Wednesday that the Democrats’ $ 2 trillion proposal was “too high” and “offended,” suggesting he would not support the legislation either.
After meeting with McConnell, Mnuchin told reporters that the negotiators had “made great strides in many areas.”
“We have work to do and we’ll see where we end up,” said Mnuchin. “We’ll go back and work a little more.”
Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC earlier Wednesday that he was “hopeful” that an agreement could be reached.
“I say we will try hard one more time to make this happen and I think we hope we can get something done,” Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin said his proposal would be similar to the framework that the bipartisan home problem solver Caucus has, which was priced at around $ 2 trillion. Pelosi and several Chairs of the House Committee rejected the plan on the grounds that it “did not meet the requirements necessary to save lives and stimulate the economy.” Problem Solvers Caucus’ proposal included another round of $ 1,200 in direct payments to Americans, a $ 450 benefit in addition to unemployment insurance, and more funding for the paycheck protection program.
Mnuchin and Pelosi were involved in unsuccessful negotiations over a COVID-19 relief bill in the summer. Senate minority chairman Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said they wereby $ 1 trillion if Republicans increased theirs by $ 1 trillion, meaning they would support laws that would cost around $ 2 trillion. It’s unclear whether the 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 empowered to legislate by what they consider to be back room deals.
“Classic swamp … I hear about a ‘deal’ between Mnuchin and Pelosi on K Street. Just like you learned how bills become law, huh? This isn’t ‘drain the swamp’, this IS the swamp. .. and hopefully @realDonaldTrump will curb Mnuchin, “tweeted GOP Congressman Chip Roy on Wednesday morning.
If Pelosi and Mnuchin reach an agreement, the bill would have to be passed 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 laws would pass in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Kimberly Brown contributed to this report.