Coronavirus stimulus: White House ups offer to ‘almost $1.9 trillion’ ahead of Pelosi’s Tuesday deadline
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the White House had increased its stimulus supply as of Tuesday's deadline to hold out a deal ahead of the upcoming election.
"We increased our offering to nearly $ 1.9 trillion," Meadows told reporters Monday morning. "[The President] is willing to give extra money for direct payments. He is ready to give restaurants, hotels and small businesses extra money for PPP."
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House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said an agreement needs to be reached by Tuesday so that the legislation has a chance to be passed before the elections. Pelosi, who spoke to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the weekend and is expected to speak to him again on Monday, said progress has been made but differences of opinion persist.
"While there was some encouraging news, there is still a lot of work to be done," Pelosi said in a statement on Sunday. "I am optimistic that we can reach an agreement before the elections."
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows boardes Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on October 14, 2020. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP via Getty Images)
Mnuchin and Pelosi have negotiated on behalf of the White House and the Democrats respectively, and are still debating the Democrats' $ 2.2 trillion proposal and the White House counter-proposal of $ 1.9 trillion.
The two parties have worked to resolve issues with the language of the contract during testing. After Mnuchin said his side would accept the Democratic language regarding the provision, Pelosi said the White House had made "unacceptable changes".
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"The White House has removed 55 percent of the HEROES Act language for testing, tracing and treatment," she said in a statement.
Other unresolved issues include child tax credits, unemployment benefits, state and local funding.
At least 44 states have disbursed all funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster / Yahoo Finance)
"It's up to Leader McConnell"
Even if a bipartisan deal between the White House and the Democrats were struck, it would likely meet stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Meadows said Monday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to put a bipartisan Senate agreement to a vote despite his party's opposition. Last week, McConnell took on a different tone and said, "I'm not going to put this on the floor."
"There are some in the Senate who would support this. Whether there are enough votes to reach the 60-vote threshold is up to Leader McConnell," Meadows said. "He's agreed that he'll be ready to come up with the bill when we have a bipartisan agreement."
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on legislation for additional coronavirus aid as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, USA on July 20, 2020. REUTERS / Leah Millis
McConnell is expected to vote on his own stimulus proposal worth around $ 500 billion this week. The bill, which is likely almost identical to the bill that failed in the Senate in September, includes funding for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), additional unemployment benefits, money for schools, and corporate liability protection.
"If Spokesman Pelosi ever allows the House to reach a bipartisan agreement with the government, the Senate would of course consider that," McConnell said in a statement on Saturday. "But the Americans need help now."
Echoing Pelosi's optimism, Meadows said he was "hopeful" that a government-Democratic stimulus agreement could be reached by Tuesday.
"The President, Secretary Mnuchin and I not only made changes, but also made significant changes that could jeopardize Republican support," he said Monday. "The [Finance] Secretary and I have had a number of very fruitful discussions over the past few days which give us hope that we can reach an agreement in the next 48 hours."
Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.
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