House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a Thursday press briefing reported some progress in her ongoing negotiations with the White House on the next round of federal coronavirus stimulus legislation (on healthcare spending, a national testing plan, and another round of direct payments), but major hurdles still remain before any deal she makes with the Trump administration can become law.
“I think we’re just about there,” the Speaker said of the testing, tracing, and healthcare provisions in the bill, which had until recently been a major stumbling block in negotiations.
On the provision of another round of direct payments to individuals, Pelosi said, “we’ve come, I think, to terms.”
Pelosi told reporters that she had not yet reached an agreement with the White House on state and local aid, liability protections for businesses, or the election and census provisions in the bill.
Congressional staff has already begun drafting parts of the legislation.
The Speaker has maintained an optimistic tone this week even though there’s no indication that Senate Republicans—whose votes will be necessary for the new bill to become law—would support the deal.
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told Fox Business’ Varney & Co. Thursday that “significant policy differences” have not yet been resolved, adding that “the clock is ticking” for the two teams to reach an agreement for before the Nov. 3 election.
“If we thought these talks did not have a purpose, and if we were not making progress, I wouldn’t spend five seconds in these conversations,” Pelosi said after being asked about how effective her effort with Mnuchin might ultimately be, given the strong opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Senate Republicans. “I do believe that both sides want to reach an agreement. I can’t answer for the disarray on the Senate side.”
President Trump weighed in again on the stalemate on Twitter on Wednesday evening, suggesting that Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are pursuing additional federal aid to state and local governments—a major priority for Democrats, who say the money is necessary to stave off massive government layoffs and support schools—as a bailout for “poorly run” Democratic jurisdictions.
What To Watch For
Pelosi and Mnuchin are scheduled to speak again on Thursday. A spokesman for Pelosi said the two top negotiators are “closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation” after a Wednesday meeting that produced progress on testing and tracing language.
Source: Forbes – Money