U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the United States, on August 13, 2020.
Ting Shen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made progress on their recent talks on coronavirus stimuli on Monday as time runs out to reach an agreement ahead of the 2020 election.
In a phone call lasting almost an hour, the two "further narrowed their differences," California Democrat spokesman Drew Hammill said in a tweet statement. Pelosi has directed the Chairs of the House Committee to work on resolving disagreements with the White House, and the spokesman and Mnuchin plan to speak again on Tuesday, Hammill added.
"The spokesman continues to hope that by the end of the day on Tuesday we will have clarity about whether we can pass a law before the election," he said.
The Trump administration and Democratic leaders have been working hard to get a coronavirus stimulus deal ahead of the November 3rd election. On Sunday, Pelosi set a deadline of 48 hours to reach an agreement – even if the sides diverged on some key issues.
The spokeswoman wrote to House Democrats on Sunday saying she was "optimistic that we can reach an agreement before the elections". Pelosi added that "we are writing [legislative] language" as the talks continue, "so that we are fully ready to move forward once we have an agreement."
She highlighted several ongoing disputes, including a national testing strategy and state and local facilitations. Pelosi also cited tax credit expansion, childcare provisions, and support for the U.S. census as areas of disagreement.
Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin can forge a deal, Senate Republicans will be an obstacle to getting passed. Most GOP lawmakers have given limited new spending support to respond to the virus outbreak as they have a rosier view of the economy than the Democrats.
The Senate GOP plans to vote on an aid package worth around $ 500 billion as early as Wednesday. Earlier Monday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell had agreed to bring a potential bipartisan bill into the Senate "and actually have a vote".
When asked about Meadows' comment, a McConnell spokesman referred to a statement the Senate chairman made over the weekend. He said: "If Spokesman Pelosi ever allowed the House to reach a bipartisan settlement with the administration, the Senate would of course consider that."
The House Democrats recently passed a $ 2.2 trillion bill, while the White House tabled a nearly $ 1.9 trillion proposal.
Congress has failed to approve new coronavirus remedies for months as new viral infections reached levels not seen in months and the economy was inches from devastating stalemates.
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