Pelosi: Democrats, White House Moving Closer to Stimulus Deal

October 20, 2020 Updated: October 20, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Democrats and the White House moving closer to a COVID-19 stimulus package deal as it moves closer to a self-imposed 48-hour deadline that ends on Tuesday.

Pelosi told reporters Tuesday that the deadline isn’t as important as was earlier suggested, saying that negotiations would persist. If Congress wants to pass legislation on the package before Election Day, the bill would have to be ready by the end of the week, she said.

“It isn’t that this day was a day that we would have a deal, it was a day that we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step,” Pelosi remarked.

According to her spokesman, the House speaker and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will again hold discussions on the bill later on Tuesday. It comes after Democrats and the White House have failed to come up with an accord for months.

On Monday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters that the administration is increasing its offer to $1.9 trillion, as compared with the House Democrat-passed HEROES Act—worth $2.2 trillion. On the table is $1,200 stimulus payments, expanded unemployment benefits, state and city funding, funding for testing, reopening schools, and more.

“We’ve increased our offer up to almost $1.9 trillion,” Meadows told reporters near the White House. “[The president] is willing to give some additional money in terms of direct payments, he’s willing to give some additional money in terms of [small business loans] to restaurants and hotels and small businesses.”

Trump on Tuesday morning said he wants to have a stimulus deal “even bigger than the Democrats,” while downplaying GOP senators’ efforts to try and pass their own stimulus bill in the upper chamber.

“Now, not every Republican agrees with me, but they will … I want to do it even bigger than the Democrats, because this is money going to people that did not deserve what happened to them coming out of China,” he said, according to Fox News.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said that he won’t support the White House’s deal, adding on Oct. 17 that the GOP will vote on a smaller $500 billion package next week. Trump then told a Wisconsin TV station that he could override Republicans’ differences.

McConnell said the Senate plans a vote on Tuesday and Wednesday on Republican proposals to include unemployment benefits and aid to schools. It would provide people with $300 in federal weekly unemployment benefits, while the Democrats want to return to the $600 weekly level in a measure approved earlier this year.

Reuters contributed to this report.