House leaders postponed a vote on a Democrat-only stimulus bill to give Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi one more day to negotiate a compromise pandemic relief package. Mnuchin and Pelosi met for about 90 minutes Wednesday without striking a deal. But both said afterward they made progress and planned to continue discussions.
Time is running short for a new stimulus measure to get through the House and Senate before the Nov. 3 election, and Mnuchin told reporters, “We still have more work to do,” adding, “We’ve made progress in a lot of areas.”
Pelosi, in a statement, said she and Mnuchin were seeking some “further clarification” on each others’ positions and that “our conversations will continue.”
Pelosi said Wednesday afternoon that the House would vote tonight on the $2.2 trillion Democratic proposal. Later, an aide said that the vote would be delayed until Thursday to give the talks another shot.
The legislation is less than the $3.4 trillion bill Democrats passed in May, but still more than Republicans have said they could accept. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier that it was rife with “poison pills” that have nothing to do with pandemic relief.
Mnuchin suggested Wednesday morning he’d offer Democrats a proposal for roughly $1.5 trillion in pandemic assistance. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said before Mnuchin met with Pelosi that there was still time to find a compromise, even with the election getting closer.
President Donald Trump has previously indicated he could accept the bipartisan proposal from the Problem Solvers group. Trump’s firm and public support will be necessary to get any agreement with Democrats on a stimulus through the Republican-controlled Senate.
Officials in both parties have privately questioned whether the differences could be bridged. The lack of progress in Wednesday’s talks dimmed optimism in financial markets about a stimulus deal, as stocks closed well off their highs of the session.
Thursday is a new day and hopefully an agreeable and helpful deal can be worked with both parties that will be beneficial to all Americans.
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