Coronavirus relief talks between Pelosi, Mnuchin to continue: aide

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Speaker of the House Pelosi participates in a TV interview on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi participates in a TV interview on Capitol Hill in Washington

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for 65 minutes on Friday, her spokesman wrote in a post on Twitter, continuing their talks over a possible fresh coronavirus aid package.

They discussed areas of disagreement, and negotiations will continue, spokesman Drew Hammill posted on Twitter.

Pelosi, a Democrat, and Mnuchin have talked every day this week and met in person on Wednesday in an effort to negotiate a new bipartisan aid package to respond to the economic fallout from a pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work.

Congress and the White House approved more than $3 trillion worth of coronavirus relief measures earlier this year, but Mnuchin, as well as members of Congress from both parties, have argued more stimulus is needed.

In a letter to her fellow Democrats on Friday, Pelosi outlined the areas where she and Mnuchin still have differences.

“Our negotiations with the administration continue, and I am hopeful that we can reach agreement,” she said. “However, we sill have significant disagreement in key areas.”

These areas included aid to state and local governments, unemployment insurance, provisions on testing and tracing, and Democratic demands for a child tax credit, she said.

Pelosi said the White House was also seeking to reduce a section of the bill that appropriates money for many priorities to $100 billion, from $144 billion. She gave no details but said: “We await the changes they are suggesting.”

Democrats have proposed spending $2.2 trillion on coronavirus relief. Their plan was approved by the Democratic-majority House of Representatives on Thursday night, but it has no future in the Republican-run Senate. Republican President Donald Trump’s negotiating team has suggested a $1.6 trillion response, and dismissed Democrats’ $2.2 trillion plan as not serious.