House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are continuing to hash out the details of the next federal coronavirus aid bill, but the clock is ticking and major disagreements—most recently over a national testing and tracing plan, as well as on state and local aid and federal unemployment benefits—still remain.
In an interview on ABC’s This Week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that the White House and top Democrats must reach an agreement within 48 hours in order to ensure that a coronavirus relief package is passed before the election.
There’s no guarantee that will happen: even if the White House and Democrats reach an agreement, a significant number of Republicans will need to support the measure in order for it to reach President Trump’s desk.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not bring a bill as large as what Pelosi and the White House are discussing (somewhere between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion) to the Senate floor for a vote.
McConnell said Saturday that the Republican-led Senate is preparing two votes of its own next week: a Tuesday vote on a standalone bill that would authorize the use of $135 billion in leftover Paycheck Protection Funds, and a Wednesday vote on a $500 billion package that would include more supplemental federal unemployment benefits, more funding for schools, and more funding for testing, tracing, and vaccine production.
Pelosi indicated Sunday that the particulars of the legislative language surrounding the Covid-19 testing and tracing provisions in the new bill are still impeding a deal. “[The White House] took out 55% of the language we had there for testing and tracing,” she said. Last week, Mnuchin told CNBC that the White House was prepared to accept Democrats’ proposed language on testing and tracing with only “minor” changes, but Pelosi told ABC Sunday that the two sides “don’t have an agreement in the language yet.”
“We’re seeking clarity,” Pelosi said after being asked whether she and Mnuchin were any closer to a deal following their Saturday phone conversation. “Because with all due respect to some of the people in the President’s administration—they’re not legislators.”
Source: Forbes – Money