Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California was noncommittal on Thursday about bringing a stimulus measure to the House floor for a vote before the November election, noting that even though a deal with the Trump administration appeared to be coming together, “it takes time” to transform it into legislation.
At her weekly news conference, Ms. Pelosi said she believed she and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, were “just about there” in their negotiations to reach a compromise, although she said they had yet to agree on the two biggest sticking points. The White House is resisting Democrats’ push for $500 billion for state and local governments, while Democrats have balked at Republicans’ demands for liability protections for schools, hospitals and businesses open during the pandemic.
Even if the pair were to reach agreement on those issues, Ms. Pelosi said there was no guarantee it could be passed before Nov. 3.
“It’s not just a question of us agreeing in a room,” Ms. Pelosi said, noting that the process of writing any deal into legislative language and having the Congressional Budget Office go through it to determine an official cost could be lengthy. “It takes time.”
But ahead of another scheduled phone conversation with Mr. Mnuchin, she continued to maintain public optimism that an agreement could be reached and signed into law. She brushed aside public warnings from Republican senators, who have said they are unlikely to support a bill anywhere near as costly as the emerging compromise, and have suggested that there aren’t even a minimal 13 Republican votes needed to join all Democrats to advance the legislation.
“I do believe that both sides want to reach an agreement,” Ms. Pelosi said. “I can’t answer for the disarray on the Senate side.”
President Trump, who has vacillated between urging Congress “go big” in stimulus talks and shunning a deal, on Wednesday preemptively blamed Democrats for the lack of a deal, suggesting that their push for state and local aid was standing in the way.
“Just don’t see any way Nancy Pelosi and Cryin’ Chuck Schumer will be willing to do what is right for our great American workers, or our wonderful USA itself, on Stimulus,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Their primary focus is BAILING OUT poorly run (and high crime) Democrat cities and states.”