(Bloomberg) — The White House shifted tack on Thursday, signaling that the administration is again leaning toward a large-scale stimulus bill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back on the idea of individual measures for parts of the economy hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Pelosi in a 40-minute call that President Donald Trump wants agreement on a comprehensive stimulus package, according to Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesman.
Nancy Pelosi at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8.
Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg
Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said, “we’ve made very clear we want a skinny package,” though she later clarified that position, telling reporters the administration is “open to going with something bigger.” She reiterated opposition to the $2.2 trillion plan from House Democrats.
Prospects for coming to an agreement have proved volatile since Trump pulled his negotiators out of talks on a comprehensive package on Tuesday.
Stocks, too, have proved volatile, with airline shares rising and falling on shifting indications of the potential for a separate aid package for the industry. The broader S&P 500 Index climbed for a second session Thursday, after a tumble Tuesday, when Trump pulled his negotiators from stimulus talks.
Mnuchin and Pelosi held a follow-up call Thursday afternoon with House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velasquez and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters about small businesses and access to capital.
The negotiations are proceeding against a frenzied backdrop, with the president recuperating from Covid-19 and the final stretch of the election campaign under way. Pelosi and Trump publicly questioned each other’s ability to perform their jobs on Thursday.
Read More: Pelosi and Trump Question Each Other’s Mental Faculties
The House speaker