After months of waiting, Americans are still without another coronavirus relief package. And judging by recent comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), they’ll probably be waiting until after November’s elections.
In an interview with MSNBC on Thursday, the long-time California Democrat confirmed that such a move could be done “in the House” — but the rest is “really up to the president,” she said, according to Fox Business.
“You hear what the leader in the Senate is saying, but that’s really up to the president,” Pelosi said. “We’re negotiating with him. We’ve made progress, and I have to say we’ve made progress in this regard.”
According to Fox Business, Pelosi said “the plan” is to work on finalizing legislation by the end of the week. She stressed that it’s what she “would hope” will happen.
But senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was far more pessimistic about the possibility, suggesting to Fox Business that it would be “almost impossible” for an agreement to be reached prior to Americans heading to the polls next month.
Kudlow acknowledged that some sort of piecemeal approach could have a chance, saying, “Maybe some of it could be executed. But you certainly couldn’t get a grand, large deal.”
Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was more doubtful still, telling Fox News: “I don’t think our chances get better after election. I think the next 24 to 48 hours will tell us a whole lot.”
Resistance in the Senate
Another factor is the position of Republican senators. While both the White House and Pelosi are discussing a bill worth nearly $2 trillion, GOP members of the Senate favor a much more modest proposal.
Fox Business reported on Wednesday that Democrats blocked a $500 billion package put forward by Republicans. Among the provision was additional funding for federal unemployment benefits.
Also included is more money for the Paycheck Protection Program — an initiative that helps small businesses keep employees on the payroll — in conjunction with extra school funding and expanded unemployment benefits.
“That’s a lot of money…to target the actual needs the country has,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said of the plan, according to Politico.
Still, McConnell expected Democrats to balk, saying: “I’m not anticipating they’re going to support it, but I’m going to give them the opportunity.”