Pelosi: Differences Remain on Testing Language in Virus Relief

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 18, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said that Democrats in Congress and members of the Trump administration have been unable to reach a final agreement regarding a future COVID-19 relief package.

"Are we going with it, or not?"

Pelosi, the top elected Democrat, said she wanted a bill passed before the November 3 presidential election, but acknowledged an agreement would have to come within 48 hours for that to happen.

But she said differences remain between the two sides. She said that the administration changed terms like "requirements" to "recommendations", and "plan" to "strategy", and "shall" to "may".

They spoke for an hour and 15 minutes and agreed to speak again on Monday, Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley said on Twitter.

But he added, "there remains work to do to ensure there is a comprehensive testing plan that includes contact tracing and additional measures to address the virus' disproportionate impact on communities of color".

"They took out 55% of the language that we had there for testing and tracing", Pelosi said, and noted that they are "seeking clarity" on the details of the language.

"You can not leave it up to the states to decide how they're going to address the minority community", she said.

On Oct. 10, Mnuchin proposed a $1.8 trillion economic stimulus proposal in talks with Pelosi but many Senate Republicans have balked at a package that big.

Negotiations between the White House and Capitol Hill on a fifth round of stimulus have dragged on since the end of July without an agreement.

As the debate over a new stimulus bill continued, Raphael Bostic, chief executive of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, said Sunday that the economy has yet to come back in many areas and for many people, particularly low-income residents.

But he also said: "If Speaker Pelosi ever lets the House reach a bipartisan agreement with the Administration, the Senate would of course consider it".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he will not bring a $1.8 trillion deal to the Senate floor, but the chamber plans to vote this week on a $500 billion bill with a Paycheck Protection Program extension and expanded unemployment benefits. Negotiations would still continue after Tuesday if a deal isn't reached, but it wouldn't get done in time before Election Day.

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, scheduled votes on their own scaled-down legislation Tuesday and Wednesday.

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