Pelosi, Mnuchin narrow differences on aid bill, speaker’s spokesman says

FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Pelosi departs a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi departs a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. October 8, 2020. (REUTERS/Erin Scott)

By Susan Cornwall, Reuters

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin “continued to narrow their differences” in a 53-minute telephone conversation on Monday about a fresh coronavirus aid package, Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, wrote on Twitter.

Pelosi hopes that by the end of Tuesday there will be “clarity” on whether a coronavirus stimulus bill can be passed before the Nov. 3 elections, Hammill wrote. He said Pelosi and Mnuchin will talk again on Tuesday, and staff work on the matter will continue “around the clock.”

Pelosi said on Sunday that differences remained with President Donald Trump’s administration on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package but that she was optimistic legislation could be pushed through before Election Day.

Pelosi, the top elected U.S. Democrat, said she wanted a bill passed before presidential election between Republican Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, but said an agreement would have to come by the end of Tuesday for that to happen.

The White House has proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus to help Americans struggling with the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. Pelosi says that offer fell short in a range of areas, including tax credits for poor people, aid to state and local governments, worker protections and rent help. She has stuck to her demand for a $2.2 trillion aid and stimulus package.

The Republicans who control the Senate are loath to pass another giant relief bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate would vote on Wednesday on a $500 billion proposal to target specific areas of need.