House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating the relief package over the past few weeks. However, they haven’t talked to each other in the last few days, suggesting an impasse over the stimulus package. But, on Thursday, Pelosi pressed Mnuchin for a response on the coronavirus stimulus package (and checks), as well as highlighted the outstanding issues.
Pelosi suggests package now depends on White House
In a letter to Mnuchin, Pelosi demanded a White House response to the Democrats' latest offer for the coronavirus stimulus package (and checks). Pelosi warned that a failure to come up with a package could worsen the problems for people as the pandemic surges.
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“Your responses are critical for our negotiations to continue," Pelosi said in a letter.
Further, she talked about Trump’s recent announcement of coming up with a "best ever" stimulus package after the election. Pelosi said Trump’s package is possible only if he can convince Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “to take his hand off the pause button and get Senate Republican Chairmen moving toward an agreement with their House counterparts.”
Democrats have been pushing for legislation of $2.2 trillion and language of their choice, while the latest offer from the White House is of $1.9 trillion. Along with the difference in cost, the two sides disagree on many provisions, as well as the language of the package. In her letter, Pelosi outlined those differences, suggesting she wants the negotiations to continue.
Coronavirus stimulus checks: what are the outstanding issues?
Pelosi indicated in the letter, that the two sides have differences over seven issues. These issues are aid for state and local governments, language for crushing COVID-19, unemployment benefits, funding for schools, child care, OSHA and liability protection.
"[A]s the coronavirus surges and the stock market plummets, we are still awaiting the Trump administration's promised responses on multiple items of critical importance," Pelosi said.
Pelosi said they are still waiting for the White House’s response on “new compromise language” for testing, tracing, and treatment to crush the coronavirus. Also, the two sides have differences over the language on “vaccines, the provider fund and [Affordable Care Act] coverage for unemployed workers," she said.
Republicans have long been pushing for liability protection for businesses. Democrats, however, are against it, arguing it would make businesses reluctant to follow coronavirus guidelines. Pelosi said they are waiting for the White House to agree on keeping workers safe “as they risk their lives and jobs to keep us safe and keep the economy running."
None of these issues that Pelosi has listed has been fully resolved. Now Pelosi is pressing the White House to come up with their response on these outstanding issues so that the relief can be provided to Americans as soon as possible.
"In light of these challenges, I respectfully await your attention to these urgent matters,” she said.