House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she believes the White House and Congress will come to an agreement this month to avoid a government shutdown, suggesting the deal won’t be tied to COVID-19 relief talks.
“We’ll come to agreement on that, I feel quite certain,” Pelosi said during an interview on Bloomberg TV on Sept. 8. “I think that it’s not in anybody’s interest for the government to be shut down. It is to be avoided at all costs.”
Her comment came after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said over the weekend that an agreement was made between the White House and Pelosi to avoid the shutdown, saying the two parties will pursue a stopgap measure known as a continuing resolution before Sept. 30, when the government is slated to lose funding.
Pelosi said they share the goal of avoiding a shutdown just a month before the November elections and in the middle of a pandemic.
“The fact is, we did not come to an agreement. We separately acknowledged that it would be important for us to have a clean continuing resolution that they would not be heaping things on there that would be unacceptable for one side or the other. It only makes sense to do that. And I feel quite certain that we will get that done,” Pelosi said.
The Senate returned to Capitol Hill on Sept. 8, although the House isn’t scheduled to be in session until Sept. 14, according to a schedule from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office.
Pelosi alleged that Trump could do away with the shutdown agreement, pointing to the December 2018 stopgap bill due to funding over the U.S.–Mexico border wall.
“If the president chooses to veto a continuing resolution—I would find it hard for him to do that, but who knows,” Pelosi said in the interview.
Last month, talks between Mnuchin, Pelosi, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) broke down. Pelosi later said she won’t accept a stimulus package of less than about $2.2 trillion. Meanwhile, Republican officials have said they won’t pass a deal for that amount, opting for a lower sum.
On Sept. 8, Senate Republicans unveiled a smaller measure worth about $500 billion, but the bill isn’t expected to have the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters the plan is to vote on the measure Sept. 10.
The Senate Republican bill includes more Paycheck Protection Program funding, $300 weekly unemployment insurance payments, and liability protections. It doesn’t include stimulus checks or funding for state and local governments.
“These lawsuits pose a substantial risk to interstate commerce because they threaten to keep small and large businesses, schools, colleges and universities, religious, philanthropic and other nonprofit institutions, and local government agencies from re-opening for fear of expensive litigation that might prove to be meritless,” McConnell’s bill reads.
“These lawsuits further threaten to undermine the Nation’s fight against the virus by exposing our health care workers and health care facilities to liability for difficult medical decisions they have made under trying and uncertain circumstances.”