U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA on October 9, 2020.
Ting Shen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi has urged the Trump administration to resolve remaining disputes over coronavirus stimulus legislation within 48 hours as lawmakers attempt to pass legislation before the 2020 election.
Pelosi set the 48-hour deadline for negotiations after speaking with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for more than an hour on Saturday night.
In an interview on ABC News on Sunday, Pelosi said the deadline is on lawmakers' ability to close a deal before the November 3rd election. The spokeswoman said she was optimistic about negotiations, but the outcome ultimately depends on the White House.
Economic talks dragged on for months despite the coronavirus spreading across the U.S. and millions of Americans remaining unemployed.
Pelosi and Mnuchin resumed negotiations this week, with the recent call last night leading to "encouraging news of tests" according to Drew Hammill, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff.
The two still have differences in terms of a comprehensive plan for Covid-19 testing, contact tracing, and "measures to combat the virus' disproportionate impact on color communities," Hammill said.
Pelosi, who identified testing as a major issue in talks, said Sunday that there is no agreement between Democrats and Republican lawmakers on the language used for testing. Mnuchin said last week that the White House would not allow any differences in funding targets for testing derailment talks.
"We're trying to be clear," Pelosi said on Sunday, adding that Trump administration officials who draft the legislation are "not lawmakers."
"When they said we would accept the language in testing, for example, just make a light touch, they said," said Pelosi. "They changed in May, requirements for recommendations, a plan for a strategy, not a strategic plan. They took out 55 percent of the language we had there for testing and tracking."
Democrats, who passed a $ 2.2 trillion relief bill in the House of Representatives, dismissed the Trump administration's recent $ 1.8 trillion proposal as insufficient. Both sides disagree on major policy issues, including funding state and local governments and protecting businesses during the pandemic.
Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin are able to reach a non-partisan deal, many Senate Republicans have opposed spending nearly $ 2 trillion on a package.
The Senate will vote on Wednesday on a capped $ 500 billion stimulus package that includes funding for schools, expanded unemployment benefits and a second round of the paycheck protection program.
But the Democrats blocked a $ 500 billion Republican plan in the Senate last month and are likely to dismiss the latest GOP proposal as insufficient.