The clock is now officially ticking down for a stimulus relief bill to be agreed upon. Amid ongoing negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday set a 48-hour deadline for she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to pass new relief legislation before Election Day.
In an interview on ABC's This Week on Sunday, Pelosi explained that this 48-hour deadline only applies to being able to get a deal done before the November election. She said that she is putting pressure on the White House to reconcile remaining disputes regarding coronavirus stimulus relief by Tuesday because the legislative process in the House and Senate will take some time to play out, meaning that it would not be possible for a bill to pass through both chambers of Congress if discussions extend beyond the next few days. If a deal is not reached within this 48-hour timeframe, negotiations would continue.
"The 48 only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do," she said, according to CNBC. "But we're saying to them we have to freeze the design on some of these things. Are we going with it or not? And what is the language? I’m optimistic, because again we’ve been back and forth on all this."
Pelosi's remarks came just after she and Mnuchin met for over an hour Saturday night. Her deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said that those talks led to "some encouraging news on testing," though "there remains an array of additional differences as we go provision by provision that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner." Laying out Pelosi's 48-hour deadline, Hamill said that the White House must reconcile these differences "in order to demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement that provides for Americans with the greatest needs during the pandemic."
Pelosi, meanwhile, addressed the conversations held over the weekend in a letter to her colleagues Sunday night in which she accused the White House of weakening the language around testing and contact tracing, stating that "the White House has removed 55 percent of the Heroes Act's language for testing, tracing, and treatment." She also said that the White House has refused to "expand the Child Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Tax Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, while continuing tax benefits for some of the wealthiest in America." Despite these key differences, Pelosi again reiterated her optimism, writing that she is "optimistic that we can reach an agreement before the election."