- The Treasury has upped its offer on federal coronavirus spending by some $100 billion as it continues negotiations with Democrats, Roll Call reported.
- The politics news site reported that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered a $1.62 trillion package when talking to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday.
- They didn’t reach a deal Wednesday but committed to keep trying, Roll Call said. But even if they do strike a deal, it could still struggle to make it through Congress.
- The two parties have been in a standoff as Democrats seek to secure much more spending than Republicans.
- One source of agreement is that both Mnuchin and Pelosi want another round of $1,200 checks to be sent to Americans.
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The Treasury is increasing the amount of money it would support for a new coronavirus spending bill as it continues to negotiate with Democrats, Roll Call reported Wednesday night.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered a $1.62 trillion package in his Wednesday talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the report said.
The increased offer is said to include more money for education and state and local governments than before.
Pelosi and Mnuchin met for 90 minutes without striking a deal. But after, both seemed hopeful of continuing negotiations and reaching some kind of agreement.
One issue that is not in question: Both sides have said they support another round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans.
This week has been the first major negotiation on more federal spending to address the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic since talks most recently collapsed in August.
The parties have been trying to find common ground, with Democrats seeking a more expansive package: They have proposed spending $2.2 trillion. Republicans have argued for a far smaller amount.
After meeting Pelosi, Mnuchin told Fox Business that he would aim for somewhere between $2.2 trillion and an earlier offer of about $1 trillion.
“We’re not going to do a $2.2 trillion deal,” he said.
Mnuchin said President Donald Trump “instructed us to come up significantly, so we have come up from the trillion-dollar deal that we were working on earlier.”
He said the White House proposal was in the “neighborhood” of $1.5 trillion.
The politics site Roll Call said the following measures were in the latest version of the Treasury offer. The details have not been confirmed publicly or by other news outlets.
- Direct payments of $1,200 for adults and $500 for dependents, which Democrats had signaled support for.
- $250 billion for state and local governments ($186 billion less than Democrats proposed but $100 billion more than in the White House’s previous offer).
- $150 billion for education (Democrats want $225 billion).
- $400 a week in additional unemployment insurance ($200 less than Democrats proposed but $100 more than Senate Republicans proposed).
- $75 billion for COVID-19 testing and tracing (this meets Democrats’ demand, while Republicans had offered $16 billion).
- $175 billion for healthcare (Democrats had proposed $249 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services).
- $10 billion for the US Postal Service (Democrats had proposed $25 billion and then dropped it to $15 billion).
- $160 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Nearly $120 billion for businesses like restaurants and entertainment venues.
- $20 billion for farmers and ranchers.
Negotiations are underway
It is not clear whether Senate Republicans would support such a proposal.
The White House and Senate Republicans had proposed a $1 trillion plan in the summer, and in September they floated a “skinny” plan, worth $500 billion.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently called $2.2 trillion an “outlandish” request. He also dismissed the idea of getting a deal through Congress before the November 3 election when talking to reporters after Pelosi and Mnuchin’s meeting on Wednesday, The Hill reported.
The source who outlined Mnuchin’s proposal to Roll Call suggested that McConnell might consider the latest proposal viable, but a spokesman for McConnell denied this.
Democrats have not yet voted on their $2.2 trillion plan, delaying it until at least Thursday to see what the outcome of talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin are.