Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met today and were unsuccessful in their intense talks in reaching an agreement on a bipartisan stimulus package.
So, House Democrats forced passage of a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package on Thursday night, even though the measure is all but certain to fail in the Republican-led Senate.
The enormous bill, would reinstate the weekly $600 unemployment benefits boost that expired in July, send a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks to most U.S. taxpayers and provide $436 billion in sorely-needed relief to state and local governments, among other provisions.
It passed the chamber in a narrow 214-207 vote, as eighteen Democrats, including New York Rep. Max Rose, joined Republicans in voting against the bill. Rose, who helped introduce a bipartisan $1.5 trillion compromise bill last month, said he crossed party lines on the Thursday night vote because the latest measure has no shot of passing the Senate.
“Instead of both sides making necessary concessions and getting Americans the relief, they desperately need, we’re back to passing partisan bills that are dead on arrival and a blame game from all parties,” Rose said in a statement. “It’s everything the American people hate about our politics.”
After the vote, Pelosi told reporters she’ll continue talks with Mnuchin, who serves as the lead negotiator for President Trump and Senate Republicans, suggesting Democrats used the Thursday night vote to ramp up pressure.
Mnuchin offered some concessions before the vote, including agreeing to a $400 per week pandemic unemployment benefits boost and an overall price tag of roughly $1.6 trillion, in line with the bipartisan proposal championed by Rose.
But then it was Pelosi’s turn to not agree on a reduced stimulus. President Trump has shown interest in approving another stimulus package, but short of approving a $2.2 trillion package. As it stands, the two parties are around a half trillion dollars apart.