White House Open to Bigger Stimulus Bill as Mnuchin, Pelosi Talk

(Bloomberg) — The White House shifted tack on Thursday, signaling that the administration is again leaning toward a large-scale stimulus bill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back on the idea of individual measures for parts of the economy hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Pelosi in a 40-minute call that President Donald Trump wants agreement on a comprehensive stimulus package, according to Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesman.



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference


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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference

Nancy Pelosi at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8.

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said, “we’ve made very clear we want a skinny package,” though she later clarified that position, telling reporters the administration is “open to going with something bigger.” She reiterated opposition to the $2.2 trillion plan from House Democrats.

Prospects for coming to an agreement have proved volatile since Trump pulled his negotiators out of talks on a comprehensive package on Tuesday.

Stocks, too, have proved volatile, with airline shares rising and falling on shifting indications of the potential for a separate aid package for the industry. The broader S&P 500 Index climbed for a second session Thursday, after a tumble Tuesday, when Trump pulled his negotiators from stimulus talks.

‘Testing, Tracing’

Pelosi sent a letter to House Democrats Friday morning casting further doubt on negotiations.

“The Administration does not share this priority of crushing the virus. The President does not have the capacity, leadership or plan for testing, tracing, and isolation that is needed,” Pelosi wrote. “Instead, Trump’s delay, denial, distortion of reality and disdain for science has exacted a deadly and preventable human toll.

Mnuchin and Pelosi held a follow-up call Thursday afternoon with House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velasquez and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters about small businesses and access to capital.

The negotiations are proceeding against a frenzied backdrop, with the president recuperating from Covid-19 and the final stretch of the election campaign under way. Pelosi and Trump publicly questioned each other’s ability to perform their jobs on Thursday.

Read More: Pelosi and Trump Question Each Other’s Mental Faculties

The House speaker said earlier Thursday there could be no action on a stand-alone bill to aid airlines or any other sector of the economy without an agreement with the White House and Republicans on a broader stimulus package.

Pelosi said airline aid could move through Congress before a comprehensive deal is voted on — but that would have to be advanced in the “context” of a broader bill. “I have made the case to my colleagues that this is a special case,” Pelosi said on Bloomberg TV.

“There is no stand-alone bill without a bigger bill,” she said. Pelosi has also said this week she is pressing for language that would limit Trump’s ability to divert virus testing and treatment funds to other projects.

“I’m always optimistic,” Pelosi said. “Maybe the president seeing the reaction to his walking away

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Trump open to broader COVID-19 stimulus as Pelosi, Mnuchin negotiate

  • The White House is open to a broader coronavirus stimulus plan, communications director Alyssa Farah said Thursday.
  • President Donald Trump pulled out of stimulus talks on Tuesday and called for standalone bills for certain sectors, such as the airline industry.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would not agree to airline relief without a wider stimulus bill.
  • Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke about a comprehensive relief package in a 40-minute phonecall on Thursday afternoon.
  • Mnuchin made it clear President Donald Trump was open to a “comprehensive” funding package, Pelosi’s spokesman said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration indicated on Thursday night that it was open to a broader coronavirus stimulus package — despite President Donald Trump pulling out of funding talks on Tuesday and calling for standalone relief bills.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a 40-minute phone call on Thursday afternoon to discuss “whether there is any prospect of an imminent agreement on a comprehensive bill,” Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill said in a tweet. Pelosi has said she would not support a standalone bill for airline aid, which Trump has called for, unless it accompanied a larger support package.

Mnuchin made it clear that Trump was interested in a “comprehensive” stimulus package — one that includes support for airlines, state and local government aid, and jobless benefits, Hammill said.

White House communications director Alyssa Farah initially cast doubt on whether Trump was open to a larger stimulus bill, telling reporters Thursday afternoon that “we’ve made very clear we want a skinny package.”

But later on, Farah said the administration was “open to going with something bigger” — albeit not at the level Democrats initially proposed.

Democrats want a $2.2 trillion package, while the Republicans have proposed a figure of $1.6 trillion, higher than what many Senate Republicans have said they would support.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday there were “vast differences about how much we should spend,” and that Pelosi was insisting “on an outrageous amount of money.”

“Hopefully there will be a way forward soon,” he added.

Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin agree on a package, it’s not clear when, or if, a deal would pass both the House and Senate. 

Trump halted negotiations over a new COVID-19 aid package on Tuesday, saying they would only resume after the election on November 3. He later changed course and suggested he would support several smaller standalone measures, including one for the airline industry, which has been devastated by the pandemic.

Airlines are in the process of furloughing 32,000 workers, with tens of thousands more taking voluntary long-term unpaid leaves of absence. More furloughs are expected in the coming months, and next year.

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Pelosi, Mnuchin speak about relief bill

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions on Iran, at the U.S. State Department in Washington, September 21, 2020.

Patrick Semansky | Pool | Reuters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke about a broad coronavirus stimulus plan Thursday, capping another day of jumbled efforts in Washington to inject more aid into a floundering economy. 

Pelosi and Mnuchin had a 40-minute afternoon phone conversation about “whether there is any prospect of an imminent agreement on a comprehensive bill,” the speaker’s spokesman Drew Hammill said in a tweet.

Hammill said Mnuchin “made clear” Trump had interest in finding agreement on a comprehensive relief package — generally considered one that would address a range of issues including jobless benefits, direct payments, state and local government relief, and aid to airlines to cover payrolls. 

Pelosi pointed out comments from White House communications director Alyssa Farah, who on Thursday afternoon cast doubts on Trump’s desire to craft broad legislation. Farah told reporters the White House wants to address stimulus checks, small business loans and an “airline bailout,” but not as “part of a larger package.” 

The speaker would take Mnuchin’s word that Trump wants a broad proposal, Hammill added. 

“The Speaker trusts that the Secretary speaks for the President,” he wrote. 

Later Thursday, Farah told reporters “we’re open to going with something bigger.” But “we’re not going to operate from the $2.2 trillion that the speaker laid out,” she said. 

The developments Thursday afternoon continue a confusing week of back-and-forth between the Trump administration and Pelosi as the sides make a last-ditch push to send more aid to Americans before the 2020 election. Barring a quick resolution, it appears doubtful Congress can pass another relief bill before Nov. 3 even as more signs of a faltering economic recovery emerge.

Early in the week, Pelosi and Mnuchin had conversations about a fifth pandemic aid package that Congress has struggled to craft for months. As the White House and Democrats tried to find common ground between their $1.6 trillion and $2.2 trillion offers, respectively, Trump on Tuesday ordered his administration to call off stimulus talks until after the election.

He quickly reversed course that night. The president pushed for piecemeal bills to send direct payments to Americans and relief to airlines. Trump reiterated his call for stand-alone bills Thursday.

After Pelosi opened the door to a separate bill only to send money to airlines to prevent tens of thousands of furloughs, she shut it on Thursday. She then suggested talks about a comprehensive plan could move forward. 

“We’re at the table. We want to continue the conversation. We’ve made some progress, we’re exchanging language,” the speaker told reporters. 

The frenetic discussions have left even congressional leaders perplexed. 

“I think we’re still talking and trying to see if we can narrow our differences,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday in Kentucky. “And you know, the discussion from day to day can be

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House Democrats to Pass Their Own Stimulus Bill Despite Ongoing Talks with Mnuchin

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi indicated on Thursday that the Democratic-led chamber will move to pass their own $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, despite ongoing negotiations with the Trump administration and Republicans’ disapproval of the legislation they plan to approve.



a group of people posing for the camera: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives for her weekly news conference in the House Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol on October 1 in Washington, DC. Pelosi met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday in an unsuccessful effort to negotiate with the Trump Administration on coronavirus economic relief legislation.


© Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives for her weekly news conference in the House Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol on October 1 in Washington, DC. Pelosi met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday in an unsuccessful effort to negotiate with the Trump Administration on coronavirus economic relief legislation.

The California Democrat, though more optimistic on the prospects for a potential deal than she was previously, made clear that she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin still do not have an agreement and remain far apart on several issues.

“I’m hopeful, but we do come at it from two different places,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference. “We not only have a dollars debate, we have a values debate. Still, I’m optimistic.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed to reporters at the White House Thursday that the administration gave a $1.6 trillion counter-offer during a meeting between Pelosi and Mnuchin on Wednesday. But the $600 billion gap will be a difficult one to close, considering the Republicans’ lack of appetite for any package above $1 trillion. One of the few issues that the two sides can agree on is a second round of $1,200 checks.

HEROES vs. HEALS Act: How Stimulus Packages Differ Ahead Of Second Coronavirus Relief Aid

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McEnany cast doubt on the ongoing talks, as Pelosi persists in her refusal to drop below $2.2 trillion.

“Nancy Pelosi is not being serious,” McEnany said. “If she becomes serious, than we can have a discussion here. We raised our offer to $1.6 trillion … It’s a good offer, but it’s one Nancy Pelosi is not interested in.”

The discussions between Pelosi and Mnuchin will continue Thursday, amid pleas from airlines for immediate relief as they prepare to lay off tens of thousands of workers. For Congress, it is likely a “now or never” moment, as lawmakers prepare to embark Washington and hop to the campaign trail for the remaining weeks of the election. If a deal can’t be reached this week, before Congress adjourns, there are few insiders in the nation’s capital who feel an agreement will materialize before November 3.

“I never say this is the last chance until Election Day, although that’s 33 days away,” Pelosi said.

The Democrats’ $2.2 trillion bill, which they’ve dubbed the Heroes Act 2.0, is scaled down from the original $3.4 trillion Heroes Act passed in May. It includes a second round of checks, a $600 weekly unemployment boost, $225 billion for education, $436 billion for state and local governments, food aid, assistance for airlines and renters, and money for the Paycheck Protection Program.

The package emerged as a result of pressure from moderate and vulnerable

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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.

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Mnuchin reports movement on COVID-19 relief; House delays vote

By David Lawder and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday said talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made progress on COVID-19 relief legislation, and the House of Representatives postponed a vote on a $2.2 trillion Democratic coronavirus plan to allow more time for a bipartisan deal to come together.

Less than five weeks before the Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections, Mnuchin and Pelosi both said negotiations would continue toward a bipartisan agreement to deliver aid to millions of Americans and businesses reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has infected more than 7.2 million people and killed over 206,000 in the United States.

“We made a lot of progress over the last few days. We still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do. And we’re going to see where we end up,” Mnuchin told reporters after meeting with Pelosi for about 90 minutes in the U.S. Capitol.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in a lot of areas,” he said.

For her part, Pelosi avoided use of the term “progress.”

“Secretary Mnuchin and I had an extensive conversation and we found areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our conversation will continue,” the top Democrat in Congress said in a statement.

She said the House would vote late on Wednesday on a $2.2 trillion updated Heroes Act “to formalize our proffer to Republicans in the negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country.”

But later Wednesday that vote was postponed until Thursday. Lawmakers are “giving one more day for a deal to come together,” a Democratic aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Before the meeting in Pelosi’s office broke up, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, told reporters that Republicans and Democrats were still “very, very far apart” on how much to spend and called Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion bill “outlandish.”

House Democratic Conference Chairman Hakeem Jeffries told reporters that a vote on the legislation would show the Democratic caucus’ “vision on what’s right legislatively at this moment.”

Formal talks between Pelosi, Mnuchin, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows broke down on Aug. 7. Pelosi has since taken the lead for Democrats.

Before talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin resumed, the White House had said Trump could agree to a $1.3 trillion bill.

(Reporting by David Lawder, David Morgan, Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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Mnuchin Sees One More Chance for Stimulus, as House Readies Vote

(Bloomberg) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he sees “one more serious try” at securing a deal with Congress on another fiscal stimulus package and suggested he’ll offer Democrats a proposal for roughly $1.5 trillion in pandemic relief.

Mnuchin said Wednesday on CNBC that the administration’s counter-offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is similar to a plan put forward by a bipartisan group of House members — which included an escalation in spending up to $2 trillion if the coronavirus pandemic persists. That’s still short of a $2.2 trillion relief package that Democrats unveiled Monday and are preparing to bring to a House vote.

Mnuchin said he hopes to have an “understanding” worked out by Thursday.

Pelosi has asked Democrats to deliver a “strong vote” for the party’s latest package, which is smaller than the $3.4 trillion they passed in May but rejected by Republicans. In a letter to colleagues, she described it a “proffer” in talks. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told fellow Democrats Wednesday his intention is to send the bill to the floor Wednesday or Thursday if there is no deal with Mnuchin.

Mnuchin and Pelosi will talk Wednesday afternoon, the Treasury chief said. Renewed optimism on the potential for a compromise saw U.S. stocks open to gains, after futures had earlier tipped another down day.

“Whether we get this fiscal deal done or we don’t, I am confident we will continue to have economic growth and rebound,” Mnuchin said. “I’m confident we can get something done, and if we don’t, we will come back and work on it after the election.”



Nancy Pelosi wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: House Speaker Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference


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House Speaker Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

He also underscored that more support for airlines is critical, as carriers face the risk of a wave of layoffs. Mnuchin said that he doesn’t expect a stand-alone bill for airline aid, and that he’ll update top executives on the talks after he confers with Pelosi.

The negotiations between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats are at a critical juncture. Either Pelosi can cut a deal with the White House or the Democratic-led House will vote on her $2.2 trillion plan without Republican support, allowing members leave town for pre-election campaigning.

If no deal is reached, Democrats could vote by Thursday. Timing will depend on the result of Pelosi’s talks with Mnuchin. House Republican leaders have already rejected the proposal.

While the legislative text adds clarity to the Democratic offer, the top-line spending level is no closer to what Republicans say they’ll support. President Donald Trump has indicated he could agree to as much as $1.5 trillion in aid — but even that is more than the $650 billion put forth in a “skinny” aid package by Senate Republicans earlier this month.

Officials in both parties privately questioned whether the differences could be bridged. Pessimism about reaching a deal was one of the factors that helped push stocks lower on Tuesday. Private economists have increasingly abandoned

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House Democrats prepare to vote on new economic relief bill even as Pelosi and Mnuchin keep talking

“We’re going to give it one more serious try to get this done and I think we’re hopeful that we can get something done,” Mnuchin said. “I think there is a reasonable compromise here … It’s something the president very much wants to get done.”

It was unclear, however, if a deal could emerge in time. The House is set to adjourn within days through the election.

In absence of a deal, House Democratic leaders were preparing to move forward as soon as Wednesday with a vote on their $2.2 trillion bill, which is a slimmed-down version of the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act the House passed in May.

It includes new stimulus checks, unemployment insurance, state and local aid, and money for schools, the Postal Service, election security and more. There is also payroll assistance for airlines that are facing the prospect of widespread furloughs as soon as Thursday unless a new aid package is passed.

Republicans oppose the bill as too costly and say it contains provisions extraneous to the coronavirus.

“This will be nothing more than fiddling while Rome burns,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said Wednesday morning as the House Rules Committee met to agree on rules to debate the legislation.

“We have to move forward because some may be content with doing nothing but we aren’t,” said Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).

Pelosi has been under intense pressure from moderates in her caucus, including some in tough re-election fights, to take new action to address the continued economic and public health ravages of the coronavirus.

However she has shown little sign she’s willing to back down from her $2.2 trillion price tag, with Democrats contending they’ve already compromised. On a private call with House Democrats Wednesday morning, Pelosi said the American people are worth the $2.2 trillion, according to two people on the call who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe it.

She also said that state and local aid and legal liability protections continue to be obstacles to a deal. Republicans and the Trump administration favor liability protections Democrats oppose, while opposing the generous state and local aid Democrats want. The Democrats’ new bill has about $500 billion for state and local governments, about half as much as the original Heroes Act.

Congress passed four bills totaling an unprecedented $3 trillion in aid in the spring, but since then the bipartisan urgency that existed at the beginning of the pandemic has dissipated and the Senate hasnt passed a related bill since. Talks involving Mnuchin and Pelosi collapsed in August, and were renewed only a few days ago. Despite public expressions of optimism from Pelosi and Mnuchin, there is widespread pessimism about their ability to get a deal.

Millions remain unemployed and there are signs that the economic recovery that emerged over the summer is slowing down. Nevertheless Trump administration continue to sound bullish about the economy.

“The economy is doing much better than anyone expected. … You’ve seen a very good rebound and you’re

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Mnuchin is hopeful about aid deal with Pelosi

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he will talk to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about coronavirus stimulus again Wednesday and is “hopeful” about the prospects of a deal.

“I say we’re going to give it one more serious try to get this done and I think we’re hopeful that we can get something done,” he said during the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor. “I think there is a reasonable compromise here.”

The Treasury secretary added that he aims to find an “understanding” with Pelosi on a broad relief package by Thursday. Mnuchin said an offer he expects to bring to the speaker — a counter to the $2.2 trillion aid bill the House could vote on this week — will resemble the roughly $1.5 trillion bipartisan House Problem Solvers caucus proposal put forward earlier this month. 

Pelosi previously rejected that plan. The legislation included $450 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits during an eight-week transition period, another round of $1,200 direct payments and more Paycheck Protection Program small business loan funding, among other provisions.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaking at the 2020 Delivering Alpha Conference on Sept. 30th, 2020.

CNBC

The Trump administration and Democratic leaders have failed to forge a consensus on what to include in a fifth coronavirus relief package as the outbreak ravages American lives and livelihoods. Before Mnuchin and Pelosi renewed talks in recent days, doubts had grown about Congress’ ability to pass new aid before the Nov. 3 election. 

Both the Treasury secretary and House speaker sounded more optimistic about progress Wednesday than they have in recent weeks. In an MSNBC interview, Pelosi also said she is “hopeful” about the potential for an agreement. 

“We’ll just see what they come back with today and how our negotiations go next,” she said. 

Mnuchin said the sides have found consensus on several major issues. Those include small business loans, funding for schools, direct payments to individuals, airline aid and employee retention tax credits.

He said the White House will still push for liability protections for businesses and schools — a provision Democrats have previously opposed. While Mnuchin added that the Trump administration supports some new relief for state and local governments, it is unclear if their offer will appease Democrats, who have proposed more than $400 billion in aid over a year.

Of course, any agreement the White House and Democrats reach will also have to get through the Republican-held Senate. As GOP lawmakers grow weary of spending trillions to bolster the federal response to the pandemic, the Senate tried to pass a roughly $500 billion relief plan earlier this month.

Democrats blocked it and called it inadequate.

Mnuchin said he and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spoke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday to update them on the talks. 

“Let’s see if we can get a compromise agreement with the speaker, something that works, and then we’ll continue to work with both sides

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Pelosi ‘hopeful’ as she and Mnuchin speak on coronavirus aid, plan further talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday she hoped to have a coronavirus aid deal with the White House this week, after speaking with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for about 50 minutes and making plans for further talks on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger/File Photo

“I’m hopeful,” Pelosi told reporters who asked whether agreement on additional coronavirus relief could be reached this week. Her discussion with Mnuchin on Tuesday was their third conversation in as many days.

“The two went over the provisions of the updated Heroes Act and agreed to speak again tomorrow,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said on Twitter, referring to a $2.2 trillion measure unveiled on Monday by House Democrats.

Pelosi has taken the lead for Democrats in trying to reach a compromise with the Trump administration on a further coronavirus relief bill.

Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer had been pressing for a $3.4 trillion relief package, but scaled back their demands by over a trillion dollars.

In an interview with CNBC, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow made clear that the White House still views the $2.2 trillion figure as too high.

“There are things, I think, that both sides agree with but then the other team wants a gigantic package and we don’t think we need that,” he said.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has previously said that President Donald Trump would be willing to sign a $1.3 trillion measure. Meadows on Tuesday said he was in touch with Mnuchin and Trump on the matter.

“Hopefully we’ll make some progress and find a solution for the American people,” Meadows told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Pelosi on Monday urged the Trump administration to raise its offer. “He has to come back with much more money to get the job done,” she said of Mnuchin in an interview with MSNBC.

Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Bill Berkrot

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