McConnell sets Senate vote on coronavirus aid, Pelosi spurns White House bid

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday the Republican-led U.S. Senate would vote next week on a targeted, $500 billion coronavirus economic aid bill of the type Democrats already have rejected as they hold out for trillions in relief.

With negotiations on a broader package stalled and Election Day approaching, both Republicans and Democrats faced pressure to take action to help Americans weather a pandemic that has killed more than 214,000 people and damaged the U.S. economy.

Congress passed $3 trillion in coronavirus aid, including help for the unemployed, in the spring.

Both sides say more aid is needed now, but appear to remain far apart. With leaders of the Democratic-run House and Republican Senate still sparring, a bipartisan deal on coronavirus relief remains unlikely before Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections.

President Donald Trump, a Republican who called off coronavirus relief talks last week only to restart them days later, pushed lawmakers again on Tuesday to “Go big or go home!!!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a swipe on Tuesday at Trump’s about-face. “Following his tweet, the stock market went down and so did he in the polls,” Pelosi said of Trump’s assertion last week that there would be no aid package before the election.

In recent days, Pelosi has refused a White House offer for a $1.8 trillion coronavirus aid package even though it moved closer to her $2.2 trillion proposal – and despite mounting pressure from some members of her own Democratic caucus who would like to see a compromise.

Pelosi angrily defended her stance Tuesday when a CNN interviewer asked her to respond to a progressive Democrat, Representative Ro Khanna, who had urged her to accept the White House proposal instead of waiting until February next year, when Democrats may also control the Senate and the White House.

“Nobody’s waiting till February. I want this very much now, because people need help now. But it’s no use giving them a false thing just because the president wants to put a check with his name on it in the mail,” she told CNN.

McConnell said the full Senate’s first order of business when it returns on Monday would be to vote on a $500 billion relief bill. It would include more money for the Paycheck Protection Program, which has helped small businesses pay employees during the pandemic.

McConnell said the bill would include help for schools and liability protections for businesses, which Republicans sought. McConnell also said there would be more unemployment benefits and assistance for hospitals in the bill.

“I want to give our friends on the other side one more chance to do highly targeted relief that the country desperately needs,” McConnell said in Barbourville, Kentucky.

But Senate Democrats blocked a similar proposal last month. Democrats have repeatedly rejected targeted aid proposals, preferring to do comprehensive bills that also include large sums of money for state and local governments whose budgets have been slammed by the pandemic.

Pelosi,

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clashed with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer over why Democrats haven’t accepted the Trump administration’s $1.8 trillion stimulus offer



a close up of a person wearing a costume: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a press conference to mark the anniversary of the House passage of the 19th Amendment and women's right to vote, on Capitol Hill May 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images


© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a press conference to mark the anniversary of the House passage of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote, on Capitol Hill May 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got into a heated argument with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday as the host grilled her on the ongoing negotiations on a second COVID-19 relief package.
  • A second coronavirus relief bill has been stalled in Congress as the Senate and House failed to come to a consensus on the details of the proposal.
  • “Madame Speaker, I’m asking you this because so many people are in desperate need right now,” Blitzer said and asked why Pelosi had not yet reached out to President Donald Trump personally to negotiate.
  • “What makes me amused, if it weren’t so sad, is how you all think that you know the suffering of the American people [more] than those of us who are elected by them to represent them at that table,” Pelosi responded.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clashed with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Tuesday over continued delays in approving another coronavirus stimulus package.

Pelosi appeared on CNN Tuesday, where Blitzer grilled the House Speaker on why Democrats haven’t accepted the Trump administration’s $1.8 trillion stimulus offer.

A coronavirus relief bill has been stalled in Congress as the Senate and House failed to come to a consensus on the details of the proposal.

Pelosi has been in talks with the White House and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to negotiate a middle ground between House Democrats and the administration, but the conversations over several weeks have so far not produced a bipartisan package.

Blitzer cited criticism from Rep. Ro Khanna and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, with whom the CNN host spoke to on Monday regarding the bill.

“The only thing that’s keeping us from passing it is politics,” Yang said in response to the relief bill delays, encouraging Pelosi to say “yes” to the negotiations.

“Honest to God, I can’t get over it, because Andrew Yang, he’s lovely; Ro Khanna, he’s lovely,” Pelosi replied. “But they have no idea of the particulars. They have no idea of what the language is here.”

“Madame Speaker, I’m asking you this because so many people are in desperate need right now,” Blitzer said and then asked why Pelosi had not yet reached out to President Donald Trump personally to negotiate and provide relief from the fallout of the pandemic sooner.

“What makes me amused, if it weren’t so sad, is how you all think that you know the suffering of the American people [more] than those of us who are elected by them to represent them at that table,” Pelosi responded to the question.

“It is unfortunate that we don’t have shared values with this White House and … that we have to fight with them

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McConnell plans coronavirus aid vote as Pelosi says White House stimulus plan falls short

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans a vote on limited coronavirus stimulus legislation based around the Paycheck Protection Program this month.
  • Meanwhile, President Donald Trump tweeted that lawmakers should “go big or go home” ahead of the 2020 election.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is negotiating a potential stimulus deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said the latest White House proposal “falls significantly short” of what is need to address the crisis.

Senate will take up Covid-19 small business relief when it returns, says Mitch McConnell

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The Senate will vote on a limited coronavirus stimulus bill this month, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, as lawmakers stumble in their push to send aid to Americans before the 2020 election.

In a statement, the Kentucky Republican said the Senate would take up aid legislation after the full chamber returns on Monday. McConnell called the plan “targeted relief for American workers, including new funding” for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans. Speaking at an event in his home state, he said the bill would also include money for schools, an unemployment insurance boost and liability protections for businesses.

McConnell said in his statement that the Senate would have enough time to both pass the relief proposal and confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “unless Democrats block this aid for workers.” Democrats have in recent days targeted Republicans for moving forward with Barrett’s nomination while millions of Americans left jobless by the virus outbreak await federal assistance.

Democrats, who blocked a roughly $500 billion Republican plan in the Senate last month, could dismiss the latest GOP proposal as inadequate. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether Democrats would support the new Republican bill.

McConnell announced plans for a vote as hopes for new spending to boost the health-care system and economy dim. Democrats and the Trump administration have failed to strike a relief deal as the U.S. creeps closer to Election Day on Nov. 3. Meanwhile, the White House and Senate Republicans appear more out of sync than ever on what the federal response will require.

“STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!” President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday shortly after McConnell detailed plans to vote on narrow legislation.

Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a roughly $1.8 trillion plan — about $400 billion less than the bill House Democrats passed earlier this month. Pelosi has dismissed the proposal, and on Tuesday suggested Trump “only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the [stock] market to go up.”

“Over 215,000 Americans have died, nearly 7.8 million have been infected and millions more are still without jobs or income security and therefore struggling to make rent and put food on the table,” she wrote to House Democrats. “Tragically, the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand.”

Pelosi for

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Nancy Pelosi blasts the White House’s $1.8 trillion stimulus offer and lists 8 areas with ‘deficiencies’



Nancy Pelosi wearing a blue shirt: The House passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus to help keep the US economy afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images


© Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
The House passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus to help keep the US economy afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped into the Trump administration’s virus relief proposal on Tuesday.
  • “A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the President only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up,” Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats.
  • She listed eight areas where Democrats said it had “deficiencies,” among them state and local aid, virus testing, and tax credits for low-income individuals.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi fiercely criticized the Trump administration’s $1.8 stimulus offer for the third time on Tuesday, and outlined eight areas where Democrats say the plan falls woefully short.

She argued that President Donald Trump’s interest in an economic relief package stems from a desire to send another wave of $1,200 stimulus checks and juice the stock market.

“A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the President only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up,” Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats.

The White House plan includes $1,200 direct payments, $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits, $300 billion in aid to state and local governments, and funds for virus testing and tracing.

The California Democrat listed eight areas with significant “deficiencies:”

  • Aid to state and local governments.
  • Coronavirus testing.
  • Tax credits for families and low-income individuals.
  • Rental assistance.
  • Workplace protections and childcare.
  • Federal funds for states to conduct safe elections.
  • Relief for small businesses.
  • Census funding.

Pelosi called for “significant changes” to the White House plan.

Read more: A $2.5 billion investment chief highlights the stock-market sectors poised to benefit the most if stimulus is passed after the election — and says Trump ending negotiations doesn’t threaten the economic recovery

Negotiations on another stimulus package appear to be deadlocked once again after the Trump administration bumped up its stimulus offer to $1.8 trillion on Friday. Both parties panned the proposal over the weekend. Republicans assailed it as a costly package while Democrats contended it didn’t do enough to address the public health and economic crises.

The on-again, off-again talks between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin entered a volatile period last week after Trump ended them and revived the discussions a few days later. But there’s been no major headway with Democrats calling for at least $2.2 trillion in spending. The Democratic-led House approved an economic aid package earlier this month.

Trump is doubling down on his efforts to secure a coronavirus relief package with three weeks to go before Election Day as polls indicate he is trailing his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.

The president called on Republicans to approve a federal rescue package on

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Pelosi rejects White House stimulus offer as ‘wholly insufficient’

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues calling the Trump administration’s latest stimulus offer “wholly insufficient.”
  • Over the weekend, the White House proposed a $1.8 trillion measure, a figure that’s too high for many Senate Republicans and too low for House Democrats.
  • On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urged Democrats to pass a measure repurposing leftover funds from the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration’s latest stimulus proposal is “grossly inadequate,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to her Democratic colleagues on Sunday, suggesting Congress and the White House are no closer to a deal on a coronavirus relief package.

Over the weekend, the White House proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus measure, angering both Senate Republicans, who consider that number far too high, and House Democrats, who passed a $2.2 trillion proposal last month.

The White House proposal includes a $400 boost in weekly unemployment insurance, $1,200 stimulus checks for US adults, and $1,000 checks for each child, The Washington Post reported.

Democrats have pushed for a $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits and $1,200 checks for child dependents, as well as substantially more funding for state and local governments.

In her Oct. 11 letter, Pelosi decried the administration’s proposal, saying the disagreements have to do with more than the top-line numbers.

“[I]n terms of addressing testing, tracing, and treatment, what the Trump administration has offered is wholly insufficient,” she wrote.

Senate Republicans are equally unimpressed, CNN reported. “I don’t get it,” Florida Sen. Rick Scott told White House officials on a phone call this weekend, two sources told the news outlet. Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said the larger White House proposal would “deflate” the GOP base, the sources said.

With a deal between the White House and Congress seemingly out of reach, the Trump administration is also lobbying for a stimulus measure that would repurpose $135 billion in leftover funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, Politico reported.

Democrats have previously shown little interest in the idea, complaining about a lack of transparency with respect to how PPP funds were used — and seeking a much larger stimulus for an economy in recession.

In their appeal, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urged an end to the impasse, which last week saw President Trump call off negotiations before reversing himself in the wake of bipartisan anger.

“The all-or-nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people,” the officials wrote.

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House Speaker Pelosi Says Coronavirus Stimulus Talks With White House at Impasse

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said negotiations with the White House over a new coronavirus aid package remained at an impasse Sunday, as Senate Republicans remain wary of more spending.

In a letter to House Democrats on Sunday, Mrs. Pelosi said the administration’s latest $1.9 trillion offer, submitted Saturday, provided inadequate funding and no national plan for testing, contact tracing and treatment of the coronavirus.

“This past week, the president demonstrated very clearly that he has not taken the war against the virus seriously, personally or nationally. This attitude is reflected in the grossly inadequate response we finally received from the administration on Saturday,” Mrs. Pelosi wrote. “Until these serious issues are resolved, we remain at an impasse.”

House Democrats have pushed for $75 billion and a national plan for testing, tracing and treatment of the virus. Mrs. Pelosi said in her letter that the White House plan included about $45 billion in new funding, lacked a national plan for testing and tracing and didn’t address the virus’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.

President Trump in brief comments on the issue said Republicans were still eager to reach an agreement.

“Republicans want to do it. We’re having a hard time with Nancy Pelosi,” he said Sunday on Fox News.

White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah told reporters the White House offer was around $1.8 trillion. A person familiar with the proposal said it included $1.88 trillion in spending, with about $400 billion of the funds reallocated from unspent money from earlier relief legislation, bringing the total cost to about $1.5 trillion.

Mr. Trump faces resistance from some Republicans wary of approving more federal aid after Congress authorized around $3 trillion in coronavirus relief since March.

During a conference call Saturday morning with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, several Senate Republicans said they were opposed to passing another large aid package, according to people familiar with the call. Mr. Meadows said he would bring their concerns back to President Trump, suggesting he expected a less than warm reception by joking that as a result the lawmakers would have to attend his funeral, according to the people.

The pushback from Senate Republicans comes after the White House increased its offer on Friday to House Speaker Pelosi in the on-again, off-again effort to reach an agreement on a fifth aid package before the election. The new bid calls for nearly $1.9 trillion in spending, with about $400 billion of the funds reallocated from unspent money from earlier legislation, bringing the total cost to about $1.5 trillion, according to a person familiar with the offer.

That proposal comes closer to the $2.2 trillion plan that House Democrats approved earlier this month, though major differences between the Democrats and the White House remain. In a letter to House Democrats Saturday, Mrs. Pelosi wrote that the new offer from the White House “amounted to one step forward, two steps back.”

The two sides have edged closer on one contentious

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Nancy Pelosi merely panned the White House’s $1.8 trillion relief offer, but Republicans revolted against it.

Senate Republicans revolted over the contours of a $1.8 trillion relief proposal that is the Trump administration’s latest and largest offer to House Democrats, further jeopardizing already dim prospects for an agreement on a broad stimulus bill before Election Day.

Even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that the offer remained inadequate, many Republican senators lashed into the administration’s approach to the revived negotiations during a conference call on Saturday morning between close to half of the chamber’s Republicans and top administration officials.

The $1.8 trillion proposal that Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, put forward on Friday was the administration’s biggest offer since bipartisan negotiations began in late summer. The proposal came just days after President Trump abruptly ended negotiations and then, facing a backlash, reversed course and began urgently seeking to secure Democratic support for a deal.

The stark divisions between most Senate Republicans and the White House undercut the potential for an agreement before the election on Nov. 3, even as the country’s economic recovery continues to falter and tens of thousands of Americans, businesses and schools struggle to weather the pandemic without federal relief.

The Republican criticism on Saturday was so severe that Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, at one point told the senators on the conference call that he would relay their concerns to Mr. Trump, but that then “you all will have to come to my funeral.” (Mr. Mnuchin concurred.)

Details of the call were described in some manner by seven people briefed on the discussion, who all insisted on anonymity to disclose details of a private conversation.

Most of the senators who spoke on the call signaled an openness to continuing negotiations. However, there was widespread dissatisfaction with how expensive the administration’s offer had become, as well as with the perception that Mr. Mnuchin, in talks with Ms. Pelosi, was relying far more on the Democrats’ proposed $2.2 trillion plan as a baseline than the two more limited proposals put forward by Senate Republicans.

“There’s no appetite right now to spend the White House number or the House number,” Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said on the call, reflecting longstanding concerns among senators eager to protect their credentials as fiscal hawks and stave off primary challengers in the next election cycle.

Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee warned that accepting a bill with Ms. Pelosi’s support would amount to a “death knell” for Republican ambitions to retain their majority in the Senate and would “deflate” the party’s base.

Ms. Pelosi, for her part, informed Democratic lawmakers on Saturday that she found elements of Mr. Mnuchin’s proposal to be inadequate, writing in a letter that “this proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back.”

“When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold,” Ms. Pelosi wrote, adding “at this point, we still have disagreement on many priorities.” She ticked off a number of unresolved

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White House COVID-19 aid offer is panned by Pelosi, Senate GOP

WASHINGTON — A new White House coronavirus aid offer got bad reviews from both ends of the political spectrum on Saturday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rejected the most generous Trump administration plan to date as “one step forward, two steps back.” The Republicans who control the Senate dismissed it as too expensive and a political loser for conservatives.

Pelosi said she is still hopeful that progress can be made toward a deal but it’s as clear as ever that GOP conservatives don’t want a deal on her terms.

The White House had boosted its offer before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi spoke on Friday afternoon. President Donald Trump is eager for an agreement before Election Day, even as his most powerful GOP ally in the Senate said Congress is unlikely to deliver relief by then.

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump said Friday on Twitter.

The new offer totals about $1.8 trillion, aides familiar with it said, with a key state and local fiscal relief component moving from $250 billion to at least $300 billion. The White House says its most recent offer before that was about $1.6 trillion. The aides were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pelosi’s most recent public offer was about $2.2 trillion, though that included a business tax increase that Republicans won’t go for.

In a letter Saturday to colleagues, Pelosi said, “This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back. When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold.”

She said that while his administration attempted to address some of the Democratic concerns, disagreement remained on many priorities and Democrats are “awaiting language” on several provisions.

“Despite these unaddressed concerns, I remain hopeful that yesterday’s developments will move us closer to an agreement on a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families,” Pelosi’s letter said.

Mnuchin’s latest offer also got a roasting from GOP senators, who weighed in on a conference call Saturday morning, according to a Republican familiar with the call who was not authorized to discuss the call publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Many conservatives are skeptical of so much deficit-financed aid in the first place, and Pelosi-sought provisions such as expanding eligibility for the Affordable Care Act landed with a thud.

Pragmatists such as Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio and politically endangered Republicans including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina appear willing to “go big” as Trump wants. But rank-and-file Republicans — Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rick Scott of Florida, and John Barrasso of Wyoming, for example — are adamantly opposed to another relief bill that’s so generous.

GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remains skeptical of the chances for an agreement, having told an audience in Kentucky on Friday that he didn’t see a deal coming together before Election Day.

“I think

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White House virus aid offer is panned by Pelosi, Senate GOP

A new White House coronavirus aid has gotten bad reviews from both ends of the political spectrum

WASHINGTON — A new White House coronavirus aid offer got bad reviews from both ends of the political spectrum on Saturday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rejected the most generous Trump administration plan to date as “one step forward, two steps back.” The Republicans who control the Senate dismissed it as too expensive and a political loser for conservatives.

Pelosi said she is still hopeful that progress can be made toward a deal but it’s as clear as ever that GOP conservatives don’t want a deal on her terms.

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump said Friday on Twitter.

The new offer totals about $1.8 trillion, aides familiar with it said, with a key state and local fiscal relief component moving from $250 billion to at least $300 billion. The White House says its most recent offer before that was about $1.6 trillion. The aides were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pelosi’s most recent public offer was about $2.2 trillion, though that included a business tax increase that Republicans won’t go for.

In a letter Saturday to colleagues, Pelosi said, “This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back. When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold.”

She said that while his administration attempted to address some of the Democratic concerns, disagreement remained on many priorities and Democrats are “awaiting language” on several provisions.

Mnuchin’s latest offer also got a roasting from GOP senators, who weighed in on a conference call Saturday morning, according to a Republican familiar with the call who was not authorized to discuss the call publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Many conservatives are skeptical of so much deficit-financed aid in the first place, and Pelosi-sought provisions such as expanding eligibility for the Affordable Care Act landed with a thud.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismisses latest White House coronavirus aid offer

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday dismissed the latest White House offer in COVID-19 aid talks as “one step forward, two steps back,” but said she is still hopeful that progress can be made toward a deal.

The White House had boosted its offer before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi spoke on Friday afternoon. President Donald Trump is eager for an agreement before Election Day, even as his most powerful GOP ally in the Senate said Congress is unlikely to deliver relief by then.

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump said Friday on Twitter.

A GOP aide familiar with the new offer said it was about $1.8 trillion, with a key state and local fiscal relief component moving from $250 billion to at least $300 billion. The White House says its most recent offer before that was about $1.6 trillion. The aide was not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pelosi’s most recent public offer was about $2.2 trillion, though that included a business tax increase that Republicans won’t go for.

“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering,” Trump said on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show Friday. Earlier in the week, Trump lambasted Democrats for their demands on an aid bill.

In a letter Saturday to colleagues, Pelosi said, “This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back. When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold.”

She said that while his administration attempted to address some of the Democratic concerns, disagreement remained on many priorities and Democrats are “awaiting language” on several provisions.

“Despite these unaddressed concerns, I remain hopeful that yesterday’s developments will move us closer to an agreement on a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families,” Pelosi’s letter said.

But GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had told an audience in Kentucky that he didn’t see a deal coming together soon out of a “murky” situation in which the participants in the negotiations are elbowing for political advantage.

“I’d like to see us rise above that like we did in March and April, but I think it’s unlikely in the next three weeks,” McConnell said Friday. He said later that “the first item of priority of the Senate is the Supreme Court,” suggesting there isn’t time to process both a relief bill and the high court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the Nov. 3 election.

He spoke after Trump apparently performed an about-face, empowering Mnuchin to resume negotiations with Pelosi, D-Calif., on a larger, comprehensive package despite calling off the talks just days before.

McConnell remains a skeptic that a deal can come together — and he has issued private warnings that many Senate Republicans will oppose a deal in the range that Pelosi is seeking.

“We do need

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