Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi affirmed Sunday that Democrats in the House have told President Donald Trump and his negotiating team that they have just 48 hours more if they want to secure a far-reaching Covid-19 relief package prior to U.S. elections on November 3.
"I certainly want [a deal], because I don't want to have to be sweeping up after this—dumpings of this elephant—as we go into a new presidency in a few short months."
—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)With off again-on again negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin going on for many weeks—and refusal of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the House-passed HEROES Act to the floor for months—the Speaker told ABC News on Sunday morning that time was simply running out for a viable deal to be reached and passed before Election Day.
The Speaker warned that if a deal is not reached by election day, economic calamity and further suffering would befall the nation before a new administration and Congress will be able to act in 2021.
"If you don't get that agreement in the 48 hour deadline you set, what happens?" asked ABC's "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos.
"Here's the thing," Pelosi replied, "The 48 only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do." Watch the full exchange:
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According to Axios:
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for over an hour Saturday night, and the discussions yielded "some encouraging news on testing," Pelosi's deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said. But the pair still had differences on a plan for testing and contact tracing and "measures to address the virus’ disproportionate impact on communities of color."
While Pelosi has stood firm for a deal that would go way beyond the relative paltry $500 billion package that McConnell has put together and plans to bring to the Senate floor for a vote this week, progressives have been trying to pressure the Speaker to agree to something like the $1.8 trillion deal that Mnuchin in the president—at least momentarily—agreed to two weeks ago.
Pelosi on Sunday said Democrats want a deal, but worries that Trump is willing to the let the economy and the American people suffer by their continued refusal.
"I certainly want it," Pelosi told Stephanopoulos, "because I don't want to have to be sweeping up after this—dumpings of this elephant—as we go into a new presidency in a few short months."