Congressional Democrats and the White House remain at an impasse over a fresh package of coronavirus economic relief, as time runs out to get a bill passed before the election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.
Pelosi said on the ABC program “This Week” that she was still in negotiations with the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, but that “we don’t have agreement on the language yet.” She said a deal would have to be struck within 48 hours for a package to be enacted by Election Day.
One point of contention, she said, is the White House’s attempt to weaken provisions that would require testing and contact tracing for coronavirus infections. Another issue in the talks, a spokesperson for Pelosi said Saturday, is ensuring that the bill addresses the virus’s “disproportionate impact on communities of colour.”
House Democrats, led by Pelosi, have proposed a US$2.4 trillion package that provides aid to families, schools, restaurants, businesses and airline workers. It includes about US$500 billion for state and local governments. Mnuchin, negotiating on behalf of President Donald Trump, has sought a smaller bill, with less state and local aid.
The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who has not been negotiating with Pelosi, is expected to put forward a US$500 billion package this week. He has said he did not believe he could sell a package of more than US$1 trillion to conservative Senate Republicans.
McConnell also said Saturday that he planned to hold votes on a stand-alone bill to revive the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program for small businesses created in the spring. Some of the US$500 billion in his relief proposal would be used to finance the loan program.
McConnell has faced pressure from moderate members of his conference to act on relief legislation. Trump’s decision to abruptly end talks, and then to reverse course, prompted concerns among Republicans that he had in effect guaranteed that Republicans would be blamed for a failure to provide further federal aid.
Without congressional action and a new round of federal relief, the country’s economic recovery has continued to shudder, and millions of Americans have slipped back into poverty.
Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.