Democrats and Republicans have yet to reach a deal on funding for continued coronavirus relief, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) among those having taken a hard line in recent negotiations.
However, it appears that the long-time California congresswoman’s resolve may be weakening, as Bloomberg has reported that Pelosi is now signaling a willingness to offer a compromise.
“We’re willing to cut our bill in half to meet the needs right now,” the website quoted her as saying at a Politico Playbook event on Tuesday. She added, “We’ll take it up again in January.”
Emphasizing her apparently newfound sense of urgency to arrive at an understanding in the immediate future, Pelosi stressed, “We have to try to come to that agreement now.”
“More interested in sitting down”
However, according to Bloomberg, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill is said to have later clarified the speaker’s remarks by explaining that she was making reference to previous attempts at meeting GOP legislators halfway instead “cutting our bill in half.”
Still, Bloomberg noted that both Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared to be encouraged by a move by Pelosi to treat her desire to provide additional funding for the United States Postal Service (USPS) as a separate legislative issue from coronavirus relief.
Sen. McConnell told the Louisville Courier-Journal that doing so “could open the opportunity for discussion about something smaller than what the speaker and the Democratic Senate leader were insisting on at the point of impasse.”
Mnuchin sounded optimistic as well, with Bloomberg quoting him as telling CNBC, “Since Speaker Pelosi is coming back to look at Postal, hopefully she will be more interested in sitting down.”
Cost contentions remain
At issue is the price tags of each party’s respective proposal. While Democrats are pushing for a package worth $3.5 trillion, Republicans are touting a more modest $1 trillion undertaking, as Bloomberg noted.
To help address the legislative impasse, President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders earlier this month aimed at addressing such issues as evictions, payroll taxes, student loans, and unemployment.
Mnuchin praised the president for taking those measures during his Monday CNBC appearance.
“The good news is despite Congress not acting, because Pelosi and Schumer aren’t willing to sit down and strike a reasonable deal, the president moved forward with the [executive orders] to help people who are still unemployed,” he said, making it clear which party truly has the interests of shutdown-weary Americans at heart.