House approves $2.2T COVID-19 relief bill as White House talks stall

House Democrats on Thursday approved a massive, $2.2 trillion package of coronavirus relief, lending political cover to party centrists in tough races while putting fresh pressure on Senate Republicans to move another round of emergency aid before the coming elections.

The vote arrived only after last-ditch negotiations between Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse On The Money: ‘One more serious try’ on COVID relief yields progress but no deal | Trump tax bombshell shines light on IRS enforcement | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline ‘One more serious try’ on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinAmerican Airlines to furlough 19,000 workers On The Money: ‘One more serious try’ on COVID relief yields progress but no deal | Trump tax bombshell shines light on IRS enforcement | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline ‘One more serious try’ on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal MORE on Thursday failed to yield a bipartisan agreement — and it sent a signal that the prospects for such a deal before Nov. 3 have dimmed considerably.

The tally was 214 to 207, with at least 17 Democrats opposing the measure, including a surprisingly large number of centrists who were furious that Pelosi had staged a vote on a bill with no chance of becoming law. 

Every Republican voted no, saying the spending levels were too high and the funding targeted certain programs unrelated to the coronavirus crisis.

The legislation has no chance of becoming law for the time being.

Republicans in the Senate and White House both oppose the measure and are backing a proposal that is $600 billion less than the Democratic legislation. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senators pan debate: ‘S—show,’ ‘awful,’ ’embarrassment’ ‘One more serious try’ on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal The Hill’s Campaign Report: Debate fallout l Trump clarifies remarks on Proud Boys l Down to the wire in South Carolina MORE (R-Ky.) is dedicating the entirety of next week — the Senate’s last in Washington before the elections — to seating federal judges as the upper chamber gears up for a battle over President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus MORE‘s Supreme Court nominee. 

“I’d like to see another rescue package. We’ve been trying for months to get there. I wish them well,” McConnell said of the Pelosi-Mnuchin talks.

Yet Democratic supporters cheered the bill’s passage, using it to argue that Democrats are focused on getting relief to people.

“My constituents and small business owners will be so relieved to know that help that they need is one step closer to being here,” freshman Rep. Kim SchrierKimberly (Kim) Merle SchrierPelosi: House will stay in session until agreement is

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House Democrats won’t vote on $2.2T plan to give Pelosi and Mnuchin more time to crack a deal

Wait and see.



Steven Mnuchin wearing a suit and tie: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, right, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testify during the Senate's Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing examining the quarterly CARES Act report to Congress on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Washington. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)


© Toni L. Sandys
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, right, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testify during the Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing examining the quarterly CARES Act report to Congress on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Washington. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

After promising to put up an economic relief bill for a vote on Wednesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held an “extensive conversation” Wednesday on a huge COVID-19 rescue package, meeting face to face for the first time in more than a month in a last-ditch effort to seal a tentative accord on an additional round of coronavirus relief.

After a 90-minute meeting in the Capitol, Pelosi issued a statement saying the two would continue to talk and the vote will not be held just yet. “We found areas where we are seeking further clarification,” she said.

“We made a lot of progress over the last few days. We still don’t have an agreement,” Mnuchin said after meeting with Pelosi and briefing top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell.

Wall Street plunged after the news broke, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average giving up most of a 550-point gain in the final hour of trading.



a close up of Nancy Pelosi with pink hair looking at the camera: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington.


© Manuel Balce Ceneta
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/)

At issue, is a long-delayed package that would extend another round of $1,200 direct stimulus payments, restore bonus pandemic jobless benefits, speed aid to schools and extend assistance to airlines, restaurants and other struggling businesses.

Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin were able to reach a tentative agreement on “top line” spending levels, a particularly difficult issue, Pelosi told her colleagues earlier in the day, remains McConnell’s insistence on a liability shield for businesses fearing COVID-related lawsuits after they reopen their doors.

Mnuchin said he hopes to reach an “understanding” with Pelosi for a deal by Thursday, or the talks will collapse.

With Wire Services

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House Democrats unveil new $2.2T proposal for virus aid

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WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats unveiled a scaled-back $2.2 trillion aid measure Monday in an attempt to boost long-stalled talks on COVID-19 relief, though there was no sign of progress in continuing negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The latest Democratic measure would revive a $600-per-week pandemic jobless benefit and send a second round of $1,200 direct payments to most individuals. It would scale back an aid package to state and local governments to a still-huge $436 billion, send a whopping $225 billion to colleges and universities, and deliver another round of subsidies to businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program.


The proposal represents a cutback from a $3.4 billion bill that passed the House in May, but remains well above what Senate Republicans are willing to accept. Republicans have endorsed staying in the $650 billion to $1 trillion range.



Pelosi said Monday that she remains in contact with Mnuchin, with whom she negotiated several earlier relief packages. The two spoke briefly on Sunday and Monday evening and are slated to talk again Tuesday morning, according to Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill.


“We’ve come down $1 trillion, and they need to come up because we have to crush this virus,” Pelosi said Monday on MSNBC. “It takes money to crush the virus. It takes money to make the schools safe. It takes money to put money in people’s pockets.”

Talks over the summer broke down in acrimony and name-calling, and conversations this month haven’t produced visible progress. Even if the rival sides could agree on a “top line” figure from which to negotiate details, dozens of difficult issues would remain to be sorted out.


For instance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is insisting that a liability shield against potential lawsuits brought against businesses, schools and universities that reopen during the pandemic be part of the legislation. Pelosi opposes the idea and didn’t include it in Monday’s legislation.

Democrats say the purpose of the new draft legislation is to show good faith and spark a more meaningful round of talks. But it also comes after party moderates and “front line” lawmakers in swing districts protested that Democratic leaders were being too inflexible.


Pelosi’s office has said she’s considering putting the new measure up for a floor vote

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House Democrats Unveil New $2.2T Proposal for Virus Aid | Business News

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats unveiled a scaled-back $2.2 trillion aid measure Monday in an attempt to boost long-stalled talks on COVID-19 relief, though there was no sign of progress in continuing negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The latest Democratic measure would revive a $600-per-week pandemic jobless benefit and send a second round of $1,200 direct payments to most individuals. It would scale back an aid package to state and local governments to a still-huge $436 billion, send a whopping $225 billion to colleges and universities, and deliver another round of subsidies to businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program.

The proposal represents a cutback from a $3.4 billion bill that passed the House in May, but remains well above what Senate Republicans are willing to accept. Republicans have endorsed staying in the $650 billion to $1 trillion range.

Pelosi said Monday that she remains in contact with Mnuchin, with whom she negotiated several earlier relief packages. The two spoke briefly on Sunday and Monday evening and are slated to talk again Tuesday morning, according to Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill.

“We’ve come down $1 trillion, and they need to come up because we have to crush this virus,” Pelosi said Monday on MSNBC. “It takes money to crush the virus. It takes money to make the schools safe. It takes money to put money in people’s pockets.”

Talks over the summer broke down in acrimony and name-calling, and conversations this month haven’t produced visible progress. Even if the rival sides could agree on a “top line” figure from which to negotiate details, dozens of difficult issues would remain to be sorted out.

For instance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is insisting that a liability shield against potential lawsuits brought against businesses, schools and universities that reopen during the pandemic be part of the legislation. Pelosi opposes the idea and didn’t include it in Monday’s legislation.

Democrats say the purpose of the new draft legislation is to show good faith and spark a more meaningful round of talks. But it also comes after party moderates and “front line” lawmakers in swing districts protested that Democratic leaders were being too inflexible.

Pelosi’s office has said she’s considering putting the new measure up for a floor vote if talks this week with the Trump administration prove fruitless.

“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now,” Pelosi said in a letter to her colleagues. “We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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