House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to answer 10 open questions regarding a new stimulus package, as the White House responses are “critical” to the continuation of negotiations.
While the weeks leading up to the election for a new stimulus package seemed promising before November 3, it is unlikely that a package will come about. Both sides blame the other side for not succeeding in providing another round of economic relief. In the meantime, President Donald Trump, who says he expects to win re-election and take full control of Congress, has made a big promise.
“After the election, we’ll get the best economic stimulus package you’ve ever seen, because I believe it’s because of her that we’re going to take back the house,” Trump said. “I think you have a lot of congressmen and women – Republicans – who will be elected. We’re going to take back the House of Representatives. We’re going to hold the Senate. We’ll hold the White House.”
But Pelosi doesn’t expect the Democrats to lose control of the House, and in a letter to Mnukhin on Thursday, she said Trump’s words would only have meaning if he could convince the majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, to forge a deal with the Democrats in the House.
Tekk.tv asked Mnukhin to comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
A further package is also in the way of 10 open questions to which the Democrats have not yet received an answer from the White House. On October 15, Mnukhin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the White House would “not stand in the way of the test question” and that both sides would “agree in principle, subject to a few minor questions”.
Despite this statement, Pelosi said the Democrats were still waiting for a final answer to the question about a national strategy for coronavirus testing, tracking and treatment. They were also waiting for responses on vaccines, the Provider Relief Fund and coverage under the Affordable Care Act for unemployed workers, she said.
When the Democrats and the White House began negotiations in August, the overall price was a sticking point, and at times there was a gap of more than $1 trillion between them. Trump, however, later pleaded for legislators to “go big or go home” to open the door to a bigger package.
The two sides agreed on another round of stimulus packages, and last week Pelosi said they were “just about ready” to agree on how to “beat the virus. The spokeswoman criticized the White House and Republicans for failing to respond adequately to the pandemic and urged an increase in federal funding for a response because she believes ending the outbreak is the best way to help America’s economic recovery.
Pelosi also saw Trump’s desire to reach an agreement before the election as “leverage” for the Democrats in their negotiations. Given his statements that a deal would take place after the election, Pelosi told MSNBC on Wednesday that the stock market could motivate him to continue negotiations.
“Seeing how the market is responding to the spread of the virus, and seeing how the market is responding to the fact that we don’t have an agreement that could bring resources to the economy, hopefully he will now seriously come to the table,” she told MSNBC.
If the negotiations continue, Pelosi said in the letter to Mnukhin, the Democrats will need answers about state and local aid, funding for schools and whether the White House will agree to fund childcare and an increased tax credit for labor income and children. Details of unemployment benefits and security measures for workers also need to be clarified.
With less than a week to election day, it is unlikely that an agreement will be reached, and the outcome of the election could shift the bargaining power and thus change the details of an agreement.