House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were unable to sign a coronavirus stimulus deal during a more than 90-minute meeting on Wednesday.
The couple will continue discussions as they try to craft an elusive fifth aid package that could pass both houses of Congress, the California Democrat said in a statement. House Democrats initially wanted to pass their $ 2.2 trillion bailout laws on Wednesday evening, but canceled the vote until at least Thursday to have more time for bipartisan talks.
Approving the bill would be largely symbolic as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was already against it.
The House spokeswoman said she and Mnuchin had "an in-depth discussion" and "found areas where we are seeking further clarification". Earlier in the talks, Mnuchin said the White House and Democrats had reached common ground on issues like direct payments, small business loans and airline help. However, they reportedly still have to resolve disputes over state and local state aid and corporate liability protections, among other things.
House Spokesperson Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a briefing to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington on September 10, 2020.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
Meeting in person for the first time since last month, Pelosi and Mnuchin raised hopes that Congress would approve more aid to stimulate the US economy and health care system ahead of the November 3 elections. Both officials were more optimistic about the prospect of a deal on Wednesday as Mnuchin prepared to offer a package of around $ 1.5 trillion to counter the Democratic proposal.
As he exited the Capitol, the Treasury Secretary spoke to reporters and said the sites had "made great strides in the past few days," according to NBC News.
"We don't have an agreement yet, but we still have more work to do. And we'll see where we end up," he said.
After months of lawmakers wrestling over how much money to pour into the ongoing fight against the virus outbreak, it is unclear what could bypass both houses of Congress and be signed by President Donald Trump. The Republican-held Senate has become more vigilant about spending federal dollars on the response as the leaders of the Democrat-held House insist on a comprehensive aid package.
Vulnerable members of both parties have endeavored to provide more aid ahead of election day.
The House released its latest coronavirus stimulus plan this week, which costs about $ 1.2 trillion less than the $ 3.4 trillion plan approved by the Chamber in May. In order to bring the price down, the time that money is allocated is greatly reduced.
The package would bring the improved federal unemployment insurance back to $ 600 per week by January and send another direct payment of $ 1,200 to most Americans. It would allocate more money to a second round of paycheck protection program loans for certain small businesses, allocate an additional $ 25 billion to airline payroll, and provide $ 436 billion in relief to states and communities over a year.
The bill would include rental and mortgage assistance funds, $ 75 billion for Covid-19 testing and contact tracing, and more than $ 200 billion for education.
– CNBC's Ylan Mui contributed to this report
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