White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the White House increased its stimulus offer as the Tuesday deadline to get a deal through before the election looms.
“We've increased our offer up to almost $1.9 trillion,” Meadows told reporters on Monday morning. “[The president] is willing to give some additional money in terms of direct payments, he's willing to give some additional money in terms of PPP to restaurants and hotels and small businesses.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said a deal must be reached by Tuesday in order for legislation to have a chance of passing before the election. Pelosi — who spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the weekend and is expected to talk with him again on Monday — said that there has been progress, but disagreements remain.
“While there was some encouraging news, much work remains,” Pelosi said in a statement on Sunday. “I am optimistic that we can reach agreement before the election.”
Mnuchin and Pelosi have been negotiating on behalf of the White House and Democrats, respectively, and are still discussing the Democratic $2.2 trillion proposal and the White House’s $1.9 trillion counterproposal.
The two parties have been working on resolving issues with the deal’s language on testing. After Mnuchin said his side would accept the Democrats’ language on the provision, Pelosi said the White House has made “unacceptable changes.”
“The White House has removed 55 percent of the HEROES Act’s language for testing, tracing, and treatment,” she said in a statement.
Other issues that remain unresolved are the child tax credit, unemployment benefits, state, and local funding, among others.
‘That's up to Leader McConnell’
Even if a bipartisan deal is struck between the White House and Democrats, it would likely face stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Meadows on Monday said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had agreed to put a bipartisan agreement to a vote in the Senate despite opposition from his party. Last week, McConnell struck a different tone, saying: “that’s not what I'm going to put on the floor.”
"There are some in the Senate that would support it. Whether there's enough votes to get to the 60-vote threshold, that's up to Leader McConnell," Meadows said. “He has agreed that he's willing to go ahead and put forth the bill if we have a bipartisan agreement."
McConnell is expected to put his own stimulus proposal — worth around $500 billion — to a vote this week. The bill, likely to be almost identical to the one that failed in the Senate in September, includes funding for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), extra unemployment benefits, money for schools, and liability protections for businesses.
“If Speaker Pelosi ever lets the House reach a bipartisan agreement with the Administration, the Senate would, of course, consider it,” McConnell said in a statement on Saturday. “But Americans need help now.”
Meadows echoed Pelosi’s optimism, saying that he’s “hopeful” that a stimulus deal between the administration and Democrats can be struck by Tuesday.
"The President, Secretary Mnuchin, and myself have not only made modifications but made substantial modifications that come at the risk of jeopardizing Republican support,” he said on Monday. “The [Treasury] Secretary and I have had a number of very fruitful discussions over the last several days that give us a hope that we might be able to reach some kind of an agreement in the next 48 hours.”