Nancy Pelosi has given the White House 48 hours to resolve the contentious COVID-19 relief negotiations, which are increasingly entrenched in partisanship.
Talks over federal aid have drawn Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill into an ongoing battle over the terms of the next deal.
But on Saturday night, the Speaker’s Office revealed that Pelosi had had an hour-long conversation with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the phone.
It is not known what will happen if the deadline, set for Monday, is not met.
House of Commons Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (right) had an hour-long conversation on Saturday about COVID-19 humanitarian aid
“President and Secretary Mnuchin spoke at 7.40 p.m. by phone tonight for a little over an hour,” Pelosi chief of staff Drew Hammill wrote on Twitter.
“While there has been encouraging news on testing, there is still work to be done to ensure that there is a comprehensive testing plan that includes contact tracing and additional measures to combat ‘the disproportionate impact of the virus on communities of color ”.
“There are still a number of additional differences as we move forward, provision by provision, which need to be addressed comprehensively within the next 48 hours.
Hammill then called on the White House to prove its commitment to reaching a humanitarian aid deal.
“Decisions must be made by the White House to demonstrate that the administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement that will provide for Americans in greatest need during the pandemic,” Hammill wrote.
A spokesperson for Mnuchin told The Wall Street Journal that he and Pelosi are scheduled to speak again on Monday night.
Drew Hammill, Nancy Pelosi’s chief of staff, posted a statement on Twitter that provided an update on ongoing negotiations over COVID-19 relief
Hammill revealed that Nancy Pelosi had imposed a 48-hour deadline on the White House to remedy “an array of further differences” regarding potential bills
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revealed on Saturday that the Senate was due to vote next week on relief programs.
“I just announced that the Senate will vote next week on hundreds of billions of additional dollars for relief programs that Democrats do not even oppose,” he wrote.
McConnell glanced at Pelosi in his statement, adding that “working families have waited too long for President Pelosi’s Marie Antoinette act to end. Let’s make the law.
The roughly $ 500 billion proposal included funding for unemployment insurance, schools, more COVID-19 testing and other provisions.
The Senate will vote on Tuesday regarding more funding for the paycheck protection program. The PPP authorization expired in August.
More recently, the White House unveiled a $ 1.88 trillion proposal that came just a week after House Democrats passed the $ 2.2 trillion relief bill this month.
While both sides have made efforts to combat the financial fallout from the pandemic, they have struggled to find common ground on important political issues.
Pictured: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Speaks during a debate with opponent Amy McGrath in Lexington, Ky.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement on Saturday and revealed that the Senate will vote on Covid relief programs next week
These disagreements have centered on how much funding to give state and local governments, as well as whether businesses should be given legal protections amid the pandemic.
In one case, McConnell rejected a House Democrats’ short-term spending bill that sought to extend federal funding programs until December 11.
He called the project “shameful” for not including provisions targeting American farmers, a voting bloc to which the Trump administration has spent billions of dollars in relief amid its trade wars and the pandemic.
Trump briefly halted negotiations until after the November election, but overturned the decision and said he wanted a bipartisan deal.
Republicans have pushed for a series of singular bills, while Democrats have advocated for a broad package of measures targeting multiple areas of the pandemic.
“I am ready to sign a big and beautiful stimulus,” Trump announced during his NBC mayoralty event on Thursday.
Trump has also said he’s prepared to spend more than the White House’s $ 1.88 trillion package, but that would likely be a tough sell for some Republicans.
“A massive bill is a basic killer. I don’t think it makes political sense to do this for the people who supported Donald Trump and a Republican Senate, ”GOP Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin told the WSJ.
“At some point people will ask: why are we voting for Republicans? … Or why vote at all? “
After halting talks on COVID-19 humanitarian aid until after the November election, Trump turned the tide and expressed interest in a bipartisan deal.
Some GOP members have said that nearly $ 2 trillion in funding, in addition to the $ 3 trillion approved by Congress, is too high.
A handful of Senate Republicans supported no additional funding, while others argued that more than $ 1 trillion was not enough, reports the WSJ.
Republicans will have their hands full in the coming weeks as they attempt to prepare for the November election, build tangible humanitarian aid, and vote on Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett.
“If Democrats don’t block this legislation, we will have time to pass it before moving on to appoint Judge Barrett immediately after he leaves the committee,” McConnell said in his statement.
WSJ reports Democrats will likely block the next wave of Senate Republicans’ bills.
They called the GOP bill insufficient given the scale of the pandemic.