Following a discussion on Sept. 30, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to reach a stimulus deal but will meet again in the future.
Mnuchin told reporters that both sides have “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,” he said.
The two will continue discussions as they attempt to come up with a fifth relief package that could pass in the House and Senate, Pelosi said in a statement.
“Today, Secretary Mnuchin and I had an extensive conversation and we found areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our conversations will continue,” Pelosi said. “We will be proceeding with our vote tonight on the updated Heroes Act in order to formalize our proffer to Republicans in the negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country.”
Pelosi and Mnuchin met for the first time in weeks. Talks between the two parties had hit a snag, with nearly $1 trillion in federal funding to states and cities being the most contentious issue. It led to accusations from both sides that the other party wasn’t serious about the negotiations.
Both Pelosi and Mnuchin sounded more optimistic about the prospect of coming to an agreement, coming after House Democrats offered a $2.2 trillion update to the HEROES Act, which was passed in May. Mnuchin signaled that he was going to offer a roughly $1.5 trillion package to counter Pelosi’s offer.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who hasn’t participated directly in coronavirus relief discussions, told reporters that Republicans and Democrats were still “very very far apart” on the amount to spend.
House Democratic Conference Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told reporters that a vote on the legislation was expected later on Sept. 30 but wouldn’t reflect on the success of the talks. “That is our current expectation,” said Jeffries, adding that the bill would show the Democratic caucus’ “vision on what’s right legislatively at this moment.”
Before talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin resumed, the White House had said Trump could agree to a $1.3 trillion bill.
The updated HEROES Act would include $600-per-week unemployment benefits, stimulus payments, small-business loans, and other measures.
The bills are designed to offset economic losses incurred from lockdowns during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
Reuters contributed to this report.