Pelosi is giving the White Home 48 hours to succeed in an settlement on coronavirus stimuli earlier than the election
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. They agreed to speak again on Monday.
In an interview on ABC News on Sunday, Pelosi said the deadline had to do with the ability of lawmakers to close a deal ahead of the November 3 election, which is a little over two weeks away. The spokeswoman said she was optimistic about negotiations, but the outcome ultimately depends on the White House.
"The 48 only refers to whether we want to make it before the election, which we do," said Pelosi. "We tell them we have to freeze the design for some of these things – do we deal with it or not and what is the language like? I'm optimistic because we've been going back and forth on all of this."
Economic talks dragged on for months despite the coronavirus spreading across the U.S. and millions of Americans remaining unemployed.
Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats on Sunday that Mnuchin sent her the expected language for coronavirus tests over the weekend, a long-standing point of contention in the negotiations. She said there was some "encouraging news" although there was "a lot of work left" on the matter.
Mnuchin said last week that the White House would not allow any differences in funding targets for testing derailment talks. However, Pelosi on Sunday accused the White House of weakening language testing and tracking so much that the funding would create a slush fund for administration.
"Rather than recognizing the need for a strategic plan, they changed the words 'should' to 'may', 'requirement' to 'recommendation' and 'strategic plan' to 'strategy'," wrote Pelosi in the letter to House Democrats. "These changes make funding an administrative slush fund that can grant or withhold a prescribed, funded plan to fight the virus rather than a prescribed, funded plan."
Pelosi said the White House removed 55% of the language in the Heroes Act for testing and tracking, despite the government's promise to accept the Democratic language with a "slight touch".
"The removal of measures to combat the disproportionate and deadly effects of the virus on color communities has been particularly disappointing," the House spokesman wrote. "The White House does not appreciate the need to allocate resources to culturally competent contact tracing."
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC's request regarding Pelosi's comments.
Democrats, who passed a $ 2.2 trillion relief bill in the House, have dismissed the Trump administration's recent $ 1.8 trillion proposal as insufficient. The two sides also disagree on other major policy issues, including funding for state and local governments and corporate liability protection 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.
Dear democratic colleague,
On Friday, the number of coronavirus infections hit a staggering 69,000 cases, the highest daily number in months. As infections rise and deaths rise, we must act urgently to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people.
Negotiations on coronavirus aid continued over the weekend, and Secretary Mnuchin sent the expected language for testing. While there has been some encouraging news, there is still a lot of work to be done.
The White House had assured Democrats that when tested, they would accept our language with a "light touch". Unfortunately, when the relevant committees review the White House language regulations, it became clear that these changes are not a light touch, but a deep dive.
These unacceptable changes include, but are not limited to, the White House's refusal to commit to a science-based national plan of testing, tracking and treatment to fight the virus. The White House has removed 55 percent of the Heroes Act language for testing, tracking, and treatment. Particularly disappointing was the removal of measures to combat the disproportionate and deadly effects of the virus on color communities. The White House does not appreciate the need to devote resources to culturally literate contact tracing.
Instead of recognizing the need for a strategic plan, they changed the words "should" to "may", "requirement" to "recommendation" and "strategic plan" to "strategy". These changes make funding a slush fund to the administration that can "grant" or withhold in place of a prescribed, funded plan to fight the virus. It's important to note the impact on color community inequality: a Latino child is eight times more likely than a white child to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, and a black child is five times more likely to be. We want all of our children to be protected.
Children continue to be negatively affected as the White House refuses to expand the child tax credit, child and dependent tax credit, and earned income tax credit, while tax breaks continue for some of the richest in America. This is particularly disappointing given reports this weekend that poverty has risen six million in the past three months as CARES benefits are depleted, meaning eight million Americans are now living in poverty. Our proposal would reduce child poverty significantly.
Children are also affected by the administration's refusal to increase childcare regulations. If children can't go to school, parents can't go to work. Child care is therefore essential. At the same time, everyone wants children to be able to go back to school safely. This costs money, and Republicans still don't have the resources to provide segregation, ventilation, sanitation, and especially funding for teachers and support staff to make this happen.
Schools are largely funded by state and local authorities, and the administration continues to fail to meet well-documented funding needs to protect frontline workers in health care, first responders, sanitation, transportation, food workers, teachers and others other prevention of service cuts for struggling communities.
Unfortunately, the government wants to undermine the census for our country unless we can act legally. The administration and the persons appointed by the president to the courts have decided in his favor to keep the census in the census. At the same time, the administration refused to give time so that once the count, hopefully resumed, could be accurately reported to Congress.
These are some of the topics that were discussed this weekend, but they do not exhaust our concerns. We hope to find common ground.
I am optimistic that we can reach an agreement before the elections. To that end, we write language while negotiating priorities so that once we have an agreement, we are fully ready to move forward.
Updates will continue as our Chairs continue to review language for Liability and OSHA, Small Business, Healthcare Providers, and Elections. Hopefully we can make further progress on our conference call tomorrow.
Thank you for your guidance. Stay safe.