Pelosi, Mnuchin signal openness to resume COVID-19 aid talks

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), attends a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), attends a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday urged a restart of congressional talks on extending coronavirus aid, saying executive actions taken by President Donald Trump a day earlier would have little immediate impact on Americans facing economic distress amid the pandemic.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, left the door open to resuming negotiations, saying he would consider any new proposal from Democrats and encouraged a compromise bill on areas of agreement such as food assistance.

Both sides appeared willing to consider a narrower deal that would extend aid until the end of the year and then revisit the need for more federal assistance in January, after November’s election.

“Let’s pass legislation on things that we agree on,” Mnuchin told Fox News in an interview.

“We don’t have to get everything done at once,” he added. “What we should do is get things done for the American public now, come back for another bill afterwards.”

Pelosi, in a separate interview on “Fox News Sunday,” dismissed the executive orders and memorandums Trump signed on Saturday as “illusions” that would not quickly or directly help Americans, and said a deal between congressional Democrats and the White House was still needed.

“Right now, we need to come to agreement,” she said, adding that Democrats could shorten the length of time aid is provided in order to bring the bill’s costs down closer to the Trump administration’s proposal.

“We could talk about how long our provisions would be in effect, so we can take things down ± instead of the end of September of next year, a shorter period of time — and we’ll revisit all next year anyway,” Pelosi told Fox News.