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Pelosi sets 48-hour deadline to approve stimulus deal before the election

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she and Treasury Se...

Posted: Oct 18, 2020 12:01 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2020 3:00 AM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin must reach an agreement within 48 hours if they want to pass a coronavirus stimulus relief bill before Election Day.

'The 48 only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do,' Pelosi said in an interview on ABC's 'This Week.' 'But we're saying to them we have to freeze the design on some of these things. Are we going with it or not? And what is the language.'

Pelosi is putting pressure on the administration to cut a deal by Tuesday because the legislative process in the House and Senate will take time to play out, and it won't be feasible to get a bill passed through both chambers by November 3 if the talks drag on beyond the next couple days.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Saturday there would be votes on stimulus measures, including a stand-alone Paycheck Protection Program bill to help small businesses, on Tuesday and Wednesday. But Democrats, who are expected to block McConnell's effort, have been pushing for a larger deal, banking on on-again, off-again talks that Pelosi has had with Mnuchin for months.

Pelosi's office told CNN Sunday that the 48 hours refers to the end of the day on Tuesday and that they need answers to key outstanding questions by then or they won't be able to get a bill passed before the election. Negotiations would still continue after Tuesday if a deal isn't reached, but it wouldn't get done in time before Election Day.

The California Democrat also said during the interview with ABC the White House has watered down language Democrats have been pushing to create a national plan for Covid-19 testing and contact tracing. She also noted that the Trump administration had changed much of the language on testing and tracing after the two sides seemingly came to an agreement last week.

'They took out 55% of the language that we had there for testing and tracing,' Pelosi said, and noted that they are 'seeking clarity' on the details of the language.

In a letter to Democratic House colleagues on Sunday, Pelosi criticized the language the Trump administration sent to House Democrats about what would be funded for coronavirus testing under a stimulus agreement.

Pelosi wrote that 'while there was some encouraging news, much work remains,' and said that the White House had assured them there would only be a 'light touch' of editing of their language but instead there were major changes.

'The White House does not appreciate the need to direct resources to culturally competent contact tracing,' Pelosi wrote. 'Instead of recognizing the need for a strategic plan, they have changed words including 'shall' to 'may,' 'requirement' to 'recommendation,' and 'strategic plan' to 'strategy.''

She continued that the changes 'make the funding a slush fund for the Administration which 'may' grant or withhold rather than a prescribed, funded plan to crush the virus.'

Pelosi told her colleagues that she hopes to find common ground and is optimistic that an agreement could be reached before the election.

In a call with reporters on Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted McConnell's plans to hold a vote Wednesday on a $500 billion coronavirus stimulus bill that Democrats blocked in September, calling it 'a sham.'

'It was inadequate just up and down the line on state and local funding, on testing, on the need to open schools safely, on the census, on protecting workers who need health care benefits, and I could go on and on,' Schumer said during the call. 'So that is just a sham. It's a stunt by Sen. McConnell when he's blocked everything that's happened so far. And in terms of getting an agreement, he's even said he wouldn't go along with what Donald Trump wanted.'

Schumer added that he believes McConnell and Senate Republicans are the 'number one reason' why there's currently no agreement on a relief package.

Pelosi and Mnuchin, Trump's lead negotiator, spoke Saturday evening for more than an hour. Their next conversation is expected on Monday, according to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

The Trump administration has attempted to negotiate with House Democrats, but a breakthrough has remained far out of reach throughout the course of the summer. Negotiations over a sweeping coronavirus relief package have stalled as Democrats have been pushing for a relief bill with a price tag of more than $2 trillion.

The pressure to strike a deal has become increasingly urgent with unemployment levels elevated, an epidemic of small business closures, and the end of the direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance that helped float families and individuals throughout the pandemic-created economic shutdowns.

The pending result, according to economists, could be devastating if Congress and the Trump administration do not reach an agreement.

This story has been updated with additional background information.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2916309

Reported Deaths: 32851
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles98992813489
San Bernardino2450331560
Riverside2338992517
San Diego2068702037
Orange2059112277
Santa Clara899831040
Kern82398551
Sacramento791371062
Fresno79033904
Alameda64760768
Ventura57941401
San Joaquin55580738
Contra Costa49759410
Stanislaus41270730
Tulare39723494
Monterey34482248
San Mateo30694294
San Francisco28200241
Imperial24882463
Solano24654105
Merced23199290
Santa Barbara23184223
Sonoma22910234
Kings18453110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo14851125
Madera12778130
Santa Cruz11583111
Marin11244149
Yolo10097131
Shasta9594117
Butte9127120
Sutter743976
El Dorado739441
Napa711738
Lassen506713
San Benito477843
Yuba476626
Tehama391742
Tuolumne327936
Nevada307571
Mendocino305531
Amador294029
Lake237828
Humboldt226324
Glenn179819
Colusa16849
Calaveras151322
Siskiyou138812
Mono10804
Inyo88327
Del Norte8442
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3414
Trinity2994
Alpine730
Sierra690
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 54°
Oroville
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 52°
Chico
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Red Bluff
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 63°
Red Bluff
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 63°
Chico
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 54°
We'll be dry and warm the next few days with strong winds Monday-Tuesday. We'll cool gradually through the week with a chance of showers Friday.
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