Pelosi says 'just about there' on United States stimulus; Senate hurdle awaits

Daniel Fowler
October 25, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday night blamed each other's party for failing to reach a COVID-19 relief deal, as the two faced off in the final presidential debate before Election Day.

After months of negotiations, both sides have indicated they would like to finalize a deal by the end of the week, although it's unclear whether it could be passed before the November 3 election. A Federal Reserve study published Friday estimated that United States renters could owe $US7.2 billion in unpaid rent by December because of coronavirus-related job losses.

Pelosi told MSNBC on Thursday that Mnuchin continues to talk with her over another stimulus package. Lame-duck sessions during White House changeovers in 2008 and 2016 didn't deliver much.

Pelosi said she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke by telephone Tuesday afternoon, and that she hoped they could continue talks Wednesday after he returns from an overseas trip.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted that Trump would be able to persuade Senate Republicans to back a compromise deal, even though GOP leaders in the chamber have said there isn't support for a package of the size being talked about in the negotiations.

Ms. Pelosi has also increasingly emphasized the need for adequate funding for the coronavirus response, including testing, tracking, treatment and additional funds to safely reopen schools, with many public school districts still teaching remotely.

Passage of a substantial stimulus bill gets more hard after the election, no matter who wins the White House and control of Congress.

McConnell does not want to bring a large coronavirus aid bill to the Senate floor before the election, a senior Republican aide said, as he focuses on trying to confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows says coronavirus stimulus negotiations have entered a "new phase" within the last 24 hours despite still having a number of issues to work on. Meadows spoke to Fox News after lunching with Republican senators, who he said were concerned about the policy as well as the cost of a new package. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. "You don't get near as much done as you think you're going to get done".

Some Senate Republicans also said Wednesday that it might be more hard to get a relief package passed after the election. We can not just say, president, here is trillions of dollars and spend it any way you have.

He said the Republican proposal did provide funding for enhanced unemployment benefits. He echoed Mnuchin, who said she was "dug in", a remark likely echoed on the other side of the table. "We want it the sooner the better, and that's why we're making concessions".

The president aims to help millions of Americans and not to play politics.

But Democrats seem just as determined not to go along with targeted aid proposals when a larger comprehensive deal appears in reach.

Democrats blocked this bill, calling it "emaciated".

After quickly passing more than $3 trillion in relief early this year, aimed at addressing the heavy human and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has failed to pass any new measures since April to respond to a disease that has killed more than 221,000 Americans.

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