After weeks of stalled negotiations on Capitol Hill, Congress is reportedly one step closer to striking a deal on another stimulus relief package. Although top Democrats and the White House and the GOP had remained miles apart on a price tag for the next bill, developments over the last week have shown that both sides are willing to move $500 billion closer to a deal.
Such a development was first suggested following an Aug. 27 phone call between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Although that 25-minute conversation largely led nowhere, with Pelosi having announced that negotiations remained at "a tragic impasse," a statement released by her office also showed that there was some positive progress.
After Democrats introduced the HEROES Act in May, they seemed adamant to stick to that $3.4 trillion price tag, a sum that they felt was necessary to properly address the pandemic and economic crisis facing the American people are facing. Shortly after Republicans introduced the $1 trillion HEALS Act in July, however, they offered to come down to $2.4 trillion if Republicans would come up $2 trillion, according to Forbes. Now, however, Pelosi seemed to indicate that Democrats were willing to drop that price tag even lower, revealing that "we have now said we would be willing to go to $2.2 trillion to meet the needs of the American people." Pelosi reiterated the willingness to reduce her proposal by $200 billion when speaking to reporters, stating, "we have said again and again that we are willing to come down [and] meet them in the middle. That would be $2.2 trillion."
Democrats are not the only ones willing to budge on that price tag. Speaking to reporters Friday, Meadows indicated that the GOP was willing to come up $300 billion. He explained that President Donald Trump "right now is willing to sign something at $1.3 trillion." He added that this number had been offered to Democrats.
However, despite the promising step in the right direction, a deal is still likely far off, and negotiations, if they resume at all, will likely remain divided. This division largely has to do with the fact of how both sides wish to reach a deal and bring much-needed aid to the American people. While Republicans wish to focus on one provision at a time, preferring to evaluate and negotiate each major piece of the stimulus package, such as unemployment benefits, Democrats have long promoted passing large-scale bill. As Forbes points out, Democrats would prefer to nail down a number of the cost of the bill and then fill out the details.