Pelosi 'optimistic' of a stimulus deal, saying Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis 'changes the dynamic'
2020-10-03 | Since 2 Month
WASHINGTON -Nicholas Wu- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she was "optimistic" about the chances of a deal on COVID-19 stimulus, arguing in a television interview President Donald Trump's positive COVID-19 diagnosis "changes the dynamic." "I think we’re coming to terms in terms of the money on crushing the virus finally, but it’s the language that is important," she said in an interview with MSNBC.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have resumed negotiations as both sides crawl toward an agreement to restore urgently needed aid. The two spoke again by phone on Friday for about an hour and "discussed areas of disagreement," spokesperson Drew Hammill said. Pelosi was tested for COVID-19 "out of an abundance of caution" after Trump and White House adviser Hope Hicks tested positive, and Pelosi tested negative later Friday, according to Hammill. In a letter to House Democrats, Pelosi said, "Our negotiations with the Administration continue, and I am hopeful that we can reach agreement."
She outlined the remaining sticking points in negotiations:
Unemployment insurance. Funding for schools, states, and local government. Child tax credits. Testing & tracing funds. Appropriations for Democratic priorities like transit. Trump pushed for a deal Saturday while at Walter Reed National Medical Center, where he's being treated after contracting COVID-19.
"OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!" he wrote in a tweet.
The Democratic-held House of Representatives voted along mostly party lines Thursday evening to pass a revised COVID-19 relief bill opposed by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Read More:US Elections: Biden slams Trump as a ‘clown’ as rivals quarrel in debate The proposal, a pared-down version of the Heroes Act passed by House Democrats in May, would allot $2.2 trillion in relief funds. Republican senators have balked at a higher price tag for more relief. House Democrats acknowledged the proposal was unlikely to become law, but viewed the bill as another marker in the ongoing negotiations.
The negotiations come as many of the benefits previously approved by Congress have already run out. The $600 federal boost to unemployment benefits ran out in July, a loan forgiveness program for small businesses expired, and airlines have warned of mass layoffs and furloughs after their billions of dollars in federal payroll assistance expired on Oct. 1.
Pelosi called on the airlines to halt their furlough and layoffs Friday, saying in a statement the House would either pass a stand-alone bill on airline relief or include airline assistance in a larger COVID-19 relief package.
"As relief for airline workers is being advanced, the airline industry must delay these devastating job cuts," she said. Republicans also seemed more optimistic about a deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking at a news conference in Kentucky, said "we're closer to getting an outcome."
"You've seen the back and forth between the House and the Trump administration and I'm trying to figure out here whether I should predict another bill quickly or not, but the talks have speeded up in the last couple of days," he said. "I think we're closer to getting an outcome."