US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from central California, speaks to media representatives as she walks to her office in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA on Thursday, October 1, 2020.
Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for about an hour Monday, but emerged from a phone call with no coronavirus stimulus deal.
The couple expect to speak again Tuesday as the White House and Democratic leaders scramble to craft an elusive fifth pandemic relief package, Pelosi̵
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The sides have made one final push in the past few days to reach an aid agreement and pass laws ahead of the November 3rd elections. While Pelosi and Mnuchin appear to have made headway towards a deal, they had a number of open disagreements before the weekend.
The millions of Americans still unemployed during the pandemic are waiting for more relief in Washington after several financial lifelines established during the outbreak expired weeks ago. Economists have feared that a lack of new fiscal stimulus could curb a slowing recovery in the US economy.
Lawmakers also want to step up efforts to test Americans for the virus, treat Covid-19, and develop an effective vaccine as the country still reports tens of thousands of new cases each day.
Optimism about the prospect of an aid deal helped boost the US stock market on Monday. President Donald Trump, who fought Covid-19 himself, put pressure on Congress to pass an aid law over the weekend.
Trump has largely stayed out of the talks between the White House and Congress.
The coming days will likely decide whether lawmakers can approve another stimulus package before the election. Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin can strike a deal, they’ll have to come up with a plan that deserves enough support to get through the Republican-held Senate.
The Democrats passed a $ 2.2 trillion law to ease the coronavirus last week. It would reintroduce the additional $ 600 weekly unemployment benefits through January, send another $ 1,200 direct payment to most Americans, send $ 436 billion to states and communities, and a second round of paycheck protection program loans for hard affected small businesses approve a variety of other provisions.
Mnuchin had previously put forward a $ 1.6 trillion plan. Key differences include that the Trump administration offering includes $ 400 billion in additional unemployment insurance, $ 250 billion to state and local agencies weekly for corporate relief and liability coverage. Democrats oppose a legal shield for companies.
In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo said. “Discussions continue and I hope we can find a solution.” The third-tier Republican in the Senate said the Democratic plan went “far beyond what we need to do to fight the coronavirus”.
He specifically pointed to the proposal for $ 600 weekly unemployment benefit, arguing it would discourage people from returning to work.
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