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Pelosi and Mnuchin meet on economic aid agreement, as both sides express optimism



It comes with the days of the House before the election adjournment, and the two sides are still at odds on major issues, including aid to cities and states, corporate liability coverage and the total cost of the bill. It’s also unclear whether the GOP-led Senate would come on board even if Pelosi and Mnuchin manage to reach an agreement.

But with millions still unemployed and signs that economic recovery is slowing, Pelosi and Mnuchin both said they wanted to make one last attempt to find common ground before the elections. The stock market rose on the prospect of an agreement.

Mnuchin walked into Pelosi̵

7;s office just after 1 p.m. When asked how close they were to a store, Mnuchin replied, “I don’t know, we’ll see. Go to the speaker and see if we can make good progress today. “

Earlier this month, in an interview on CNBC, Mnuchin said the counteroffer he was preparing for Pelosi would be akin to an approximately $ 1.5 trillion proposal drawn up by non-partisan problem solver Caucus earlier this month. That proposal included provisions that would allow the price to be raised to around $ 2 trillion based on the progression of the coronavirus, which would bring the two sides close in terms of overall spending levels.

“I think there is a sensible compromise here … the president really wants to do that,” said Mnuchin.

Pelosi described herself as “hopeful” in an interview on MSNBC, despite saying that Democrats and Republicans do not have “common values” about Americans’ needs.

“I always want to keep the door open so we can find a solution. It is a negotiation, we will not get everything we want, but they are very contemptible, they despise working families in our country, ”said Pelosi.

Even if no agreement was reached, House Democratic leaders were preparing to move forward with a vote on their $ 2.2 trillion bill as early as Wednesday. This is a stripped-down version of the $ 3.4 trillion hero bill that the House passed in May.

It includes new stimulus checks, unemployment insurance, state and local aid, and money for schools, the U.S. Postal Service, election security, and more. There are also payroll aids for airlines, which already have the prospect of widespread vacation days on Thursday, unless a new aid package is passed.

Republicans reject the bill as too costly, saying it contains provisions that are inconsistent with the novel coronavirus.

“This will be nothing more than playing around while Rome burns,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) Wednesday morning as the House Rules Committee met to agree rules for the legislative debate.

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

Pelosi has come under heavy pressure from moderates in their caucus, including some in tough re-election campaigns, to take new measures to address the ongoing economic and health devastation caused by the coronavirus.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Has been pushing, among other things, for the House to vote on a new bill since it has been months since the House Democrats passed the Heroic Law that 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 to have the House vote on the new $ 2.2 trillion bill on Wednesday so members can return home to apply for re-election to show that they at least tried.

“We will do our best to ensure that our party’s position is known to the American people to help them during this time of great crisis,” Hoyer told reporters on the conference call.

Pelosi has shown little sign of willingness to step back from its $ 2.2 trillion price tag. The Democrats claim they have already compromised. On a private call to the House Democrats Wednesday morning, Pelosi said the American people were worth the $ 2.2 trillion, according to two people who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe them.

She also said that state and local aid and legal liability protections continue to be barriers to doing business. Republicans and the Trump administration advocate liability protection that Democrats speak out against, while speaking out against the lavish state and local aid that Democrats want. The Democrats’ new bill provides roughly $ 500 billion for state and local governments, roughly half the amount of the original Heroes Act.

Congress passed four bills totaling $ 3 trillion in the spring, but since then the bipartisan urgency that existed at the start of the pandemic has dissolved and the Senate has not passed such bills since then. The talks between Mnuchin and Pelosi collapsed in August and were only renewed a few days ago.

Millions remain unemployed and deaths from the coronavirus continue to rise, but the Trump administration continues to sound optimistic about the economy.

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

Stephen Moore, an external White House economic advisor, said he told Trump at a White House meeting about ten days ago that a stimulus deal would do little to improve the president’s election prospects. Moore said he had advised the president that the benefits of a stimulus deal now reached would not start the economy until 2021 at the earliest or December at the earliest.

“I told him, ‘Mr. President, there is no deal that can help the economy before the elections,” said Moore.

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

Trump stated privately last week that he believes he is unlikely to get a deal before the election, according to a person who spoke to White House officials and was given anonymity to exchange details on private conversations. The president said he viewed the Democrats as dubious about a deal and viewed the negotiations as a likely waste of time.

Regardless, state funding will expire at midnight on Wednesday, and the agencies will close unless the Senate passes – and Trump signs – an emergency spending bill already passed by parliament. The bill is expected to be passed by the Senate and incorporated into law in a timely manner to prevent a closure, though Congress and the administration left little room for error. Legislation must become law on Wednesday by midnight.


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