Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer led talks late into the night Monday in search of a compromise on a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package to address the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, and said they hoped to have a deal in place Tuesday.
“We look forward to having a deal tomorrow,” Mnuchin told reporters after exiting Schumer’s office.
“That’s the expectation — that we finish it tomorrow and hopefully vote on it tomorrow evening,” added Schumer.
A version of the bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to get the 60 votes needed to end debate on Sunday and again on Monday, in largely party-line votes.
That measure called for direct, one-time payments to Americans – $1,200 to individuals and $3,000 for a family of four, loans to small businesses battered by mandatory closures, money to help hospitals and medical professionals, expanded unemployment benefits, and money to help larger corporations in troubled industries, such as the airlines.
Democrats argued the Senate bill favored businesses over workers and pushed for more protections for Americans unable to work amid the crisis, as well as more restrictions on corporations receiving federal assistance. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled her own $2.5 trillion version of the bill, which included larger direct payments to workers, money for states and a provision forcing President Donald Trump to order companies to manufacture needed medical supplies.
McConnell slammed Pelosi and congressional Democrats for their opposition to the Senate bill, saying, “The country doesn’t have time for these political games.”
Mnuchin and Schumer said both sides were close to a deal and the Treasury secretary said talks were expected to resume Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Schumer said he thought a deal could be reached on a package that could be voted on Tuesday night.
Trump also railed against Pelosi, accusing her of including provisions that were not related to the coronavirus.
“Republicans had a deal until Nancy Pelosi rode into town,” Trump said in a Monday tweet. “The Democrats want the Virus to win?”
– William Cummings
Contributing: The Associated Press