Pelosi and Treasury Secretary
Also striking an optimist note was Senate Majority Leader
“I think we’re closer to getting an outcome,” McConnell said at an event Friday in Kentucky.
Pelosi in a letter Friday to House Democrat said there remain five areas of “significant disagreement” with the White House that were topics in her call with Mnuchin.
They are mostly the same issues that have stood in the way of a deal for weeks: funding for unemployment insurance; money for schools and state and local governments; amounts for the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit; restrictions on use of testing money; and $44 billion gap on appropriated discretionary funding.
Democrats have accused Senate Republicans and the White House of not recognizing the extent of damage that the coronavirus pandemic has caused and how big a threat remains.
“This kind of changes the dynamic,” Pelosi said on MSNBC Friday of Trump’s diagnosis. “Here, they see the reality of what we have been saying all along.”
The stimulus negotiations have made some halting progress over the past two months, but the two sides remain far apart on how much of a boost to provide and where it should be directed. Democrats in the House on Thursday passed a $2.2 trillion package -- down from the $3.4 million plan they passed in May -- as their offer in the latest talks. Mnuchin has proposed a plan of about $1.6 trillion.
Pelosi is under increasing pressure from her swing-district moderate members to get a deal quickly, and 18 of them voted against the Democratic package on Thursday in order to urge bipartisan talks. The leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition are preparing to send a letter to the speaker calling for negotiations through the weekend to get a deal and keep Congress in town.
“Now that both the White House and House Democrats have put forward serious proposals, we urge you to continue the discussions over the weekend until a deal is achieved,” the letter states.
The negotiations are taking place amid signs the U.S. economy is struggling to recover from pandemic-induced shutdowns. Job gains slowed in September and many Americans quit looking for work, suggesting the economic recovery is down-shifting. Americans’ incomes fell in August by the most in three months after the government’s supplemental unemployment benefits expired, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
In one sign of the how the economic pressure may be affecting the negotiations, Pelosi said Friday that she would support an extension of aid for airlines either as part of a broader package or as a standalone bill. She previously had resisted any piecemeal approach to the stimulus.
House Majority Leader
Pelosi’s comments on a possible shift in the talks prompted U.S. stocks to pare loses. After falling as much as 1.2% earlier Friday, the S&P 500 Index’s decline was cut almost in half after she spoke.
Some Democrats and Republicans remained skeptical.
“I don’t think Trump being diagnosed will change a whole lot when it comes to Republicans being willing to address this crisis,” Florida Democratic Representative
She said she will be hopeful only when Congress is called in to vote on a deal.
Oklahoma GOP Representative
He said the chances of a deal would be completely hopeless if not for recent announcements of layoffs by airlines and companies in other industries. “Surely they can come up with something,” Lucas said.
Time to strike a deal is running short, with the presidential and congressional elections 32 days away and Congress expected to be on recess beforehand for the final leg of the campaign.
The House left for recess Friday midday, with lawmakers on call to return if there is a deal to vote on. Private economists have already cut their growth forecasts for the fourth quarter after the failure to find a compromise on another fiscal package.
(Updates with McConnell in third, fourth paragraphs)
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