The House of Representatives is on track to vote Thursday evening on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal put forward by House Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have continued talks in an effort to reach an agreement.
Time is quickly running out to clinch a bipartisan agreement that could be signed into law as Democrats move forward to advance a plan that Republicans have rejected as too costly and is not expected to be taken up by the GOP-held Senate.
Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone on Thursday afternoon, marking the latest discussion between the top stimulus negotiators, but after the call there was no deal at hand.
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, tweeted later that during the call “the two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language but distance on key areas remain. Their conversation will continue this afternoon.”
In an indication of how challenging it may be to reach a bipartisan agreement at this point, Pelosi, on a private call with the House Democratic whip team Thursday morning, sounded very down about the prospects of a deal for a new stimulus package to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, according to two people on the call.
Pelosi repeatedly spoke of the “different values” held by Democrats and Republicans, making clear that even the latest offer from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fell far short of what was needed to deal with her view of the scale of the current economic issues.
Pelosi’s framing on the private call earlier Thursday tracks with the criticism she’s leveled at Republicans during stimulus negotiations for months — that the Trump administration simply isn’t willing to do what’s necessary on the fiscal side of things to address the depth of the economic problems created by the pandemic.
Republicans say it is now up to Pelosi to counter the roughly $1.6 trillion proposal Mnuchin put on the table Wednesday, which is hundreds of billions of dollars away from the roughly $2.2 trillion plan House Democrats could vote on as soon as later Thursday.
Video: Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly (CNN)
Pelosi said during her weekly news conference that she is “hopeful that we can reach agreement” on a bipartisan deal, but nevertheless made clear that the two sides are not on the same page on key issues.
“We’re kind of in the ballpark on some things,” Pelosi said, but added, “still way off in terms of state and local