White House, Pelosi ‘Optimistic’ in Developing Deal With Democrats on Stimulus Bill

October 21, 2020 Updated: October 21, 2020

The White House is now optimistic in developing a CCP virus relief deal after negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said chief of staff Mark Meadows.

“I am optimistic,” Meadows said. “We do share one goal, and that is hopefully to get some kind of deal in the next 48 hours or so.”

Over the past 24 hours, negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been positive, he said.

“The last 24 hours have moved the ball down the field,” Meadows said on Fox News on Wednesday morning, following talks between the Treasury secretary and speaker. The goal is “some kind of deal in the next 48 hours or so,” he added.

Meadows elaborated that “the negotiations have entered a new phase, which is more on the technical side of trying to get the language right if we can agree on the numbers.”

The two are scheduled to speak again on Wednesday afternoon, according to Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill. Following talks on Tuesday at 3 p.m., Pelosi said in a letter that her conversations with Mnuchin “provided more clarity and common ground as we move closer to an agreement.”

“Today’s deadline enabled us to see that decisions could be reached and language could be exchanged, demonstrating that both sides are serious about finding a compromise,” Pelosi said.

Republicans and Democrats mostly agree that another stimulus measure is necessary to boost the economy following months of pandemic-induced lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. The two sides have disagreed over the size of the bill and what measures to include, including aid to state and local governments, the amount federal unemployment benefits should be, and more.

Republicans in the Senate, however, have different priorities and are slated to vote on their own, smaller package Wednesday. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) came forward on Tuesday and said he would not vote on anything around $1.8 trillion, which is being proposed by the White House. Pelosi has proposed a $2.2 trillion deal.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) also said Tuesday that the White House’s proposal was too much, saying, “I’m not optimistic about us doing anything.”

However, Trump over the weekend told a local Wisconsin news outlet that he is confident he can get the Senate to vote on a White House-backed deal.

“If a presidentially-supported bill clears the House at some point we’ll bring it to the floor,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters during a news conference on Tuesday.

It came after Meadows told reporters Monday that the White House had increased its offer.

“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.”