Pelosi Offers Hope That COVID-19 Stimulus Deal Possible

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
September 28, 2020Updated: September 28, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over the weekend expressed hope that a deal could be made between top Democrats and the White House on another economic stimulus measure related to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

“We are having our conversations. And when I have a conversation with the administration, it is in good faith,” she said on CNN.  Pelosi said she hopes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin can come up with a plan to “reach a solution” with Democrats, saying, “I believe we can come to an agreement.”

Since Democrats and the White House reached an impasse in early August over how much to spend and what aspects of the economy need assistance, there has been mounting pressure on Pelosi from moderate House Democrats.

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers proposed a $1.5 trillion deal that would include stimulus checks, $450-per-week in unemployment benefits, and $500 billion in funding for state and local governments. It came after Democrats in May passed their $3.4 trillion HEROES Act in the House, which included over $900 billion in state and local funding and an extension of the $600-per-week unemployment benefits.

Republicans in the Senate said they wouldn’t approve the measure.

Formal talks involving Mnuchin, Pelosi, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows haven’t restarted, and it’s unclear when they will. Mnuchin and Pelosi have indicated they’re speaking about the measures by phone.

Pelosi told CNN on Sept. 27 that it was “definitely a possibility” that she would offer a bill if the impasse continued, although she said she would rather have a deal with the White House. The Trump administration and Mnuchin have signaled they won’t consider a $2.2 trillion or $2.4 trillion measure, as Democrats have suggested in recent weeks.

Trump Meets With Cabinet Members, Members Of Congress On Stimulus Payments
President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting (2nd L–R) Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Republican congressional leaders in the Oval Office at the White House on July 20, 2020. (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

“However, at some point, the public is going to have to see why $2.2 or now $2.4 trillion dollars is necessary,” Pelosi added in the interview, arguing that since the last pandemic stimulus measure was passed months ago, more aid is required. “So we may need more money than that.

“And we will reveal what that is in a short period of time.”

White House adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters over the weekend that the administration wouldn’t support a bill of that size.

“I’d like to say we are making great progress, but I can’t yet,” Kudlow later said. “I can’t get ahead of that curve, it’s not happening.” He pointed to recent improvements in the U.S. job market after months of unemployment spikes.

Senate Republicans this month failed to advance a $500 billion stimulus package over Democrats’ objections that it didn’t do enough. The bill didn’t include funding to state and local governments, food assistance, and stimulus checks, among other measures favored by Democrats.

“I think we have a chance to get something done and we want to,” Pelosi told CNN. “What we will be putting forth is an offer to say, now let us negotiate within a time frame and a dollar amount to get the job done to put money in people’s pockets, to honor our heroes and to crush the virus.”