Pelosi, Mnuchin Talk Stimulus But Stalemate Remains

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke by phone on Tuesday but did not make headway on a weeks-long stalemate over a stimulus package to provide Americans with economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone for 36 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, after the Treasury secretary testified before the House select committee overseeing the coronavirus crisis.

Both sides remain firm in their positions: Democrats are proposing a $2.2 trillion package, while the White House is calling for a proposal around $1.3 trillion.

“Sadly, this phone call made clear that Democrats and the White House continue to have serious differences understanding the gravity of the situation that America’s working families are facing,” Pelosi said in a statement.

During his testimony before the House panel on Tuesday, Mnuchin said that he did not support the $2.2 trillion proposal offered by Democrats, which is down from a previous offer of $2.4 trillion.

“I do not support $2.2 trillion,” Mnuchin said.

Pelosi reiterated that she thinks the pared-down proposals from the White House and Senate Republicans don’t go nearly far enough in addressing the coronavirus crisis.

“Does the White House think that America’s working families are not worth the investment needed to defeat the virus and the accompanying economic crisis? Or would they rather spend the money another way?” Pelosi said.

The lack of progress during the Pelosi-Mnuchin call on Tuesday came less than a week after she spoke with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows over the phone. That call similarly did not yield much headway.

Mnuchin said during his testimony that both he and President Trump support more aid for workers, schools, small businesses and testing.

“Let me say I very much agree with you and those other experts that more fiscal response is needed. The president and I want to move forward with more fiscal response,” Mnuchin said.

During Tuesday’s hearing, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) urged Mnuchin to immediately restart negotiations with Pelosi.

“Can I tell her that you suggested I call her right after the hearing?” Mnuchin asked Waters.

“Yes, yes, yes,” Waters replied.

“Done! I will call her right after the hearing,” Mnuchin said.

Senate Republicans are planning to vote next week on a “targeted” coronavirus relief bill. But the legislation is unlikely to secure the necessary 60 votes for passage given that Democrats are calling for a far more expansive bill.

The weekly $600 federal unemployment insurance payments created by the March coronavirus relief law expired at the end of July. Trump took executive action to temporarily supplement unemployment insurance by $400 per week, but that aid has still not reached people in many states.

The Trump administration also issued an order on Tuesday banning landlords from evicting tenants from properties if they cannot afford to pay rent because of income lost from the pandemic.


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