Stimulus Update: Mnuchin and Pelosi Fail to Reach Coronavirus Deal as House Democrats Pass Their Own

In the most recent update on the next stimulus plan, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have again failed to reach a coronavirus deal. Instead, House Democrats have passed their own new bill, which is essentially an amended version of the HEROES Act, which originally passed the House in May. The GOP-led Senate has so far refused to accept the HEROES Act, instead writing its own bills, which have also not passed.

According to Fox Business, the two continue to be engaged in negotiations, but nothing has been mutually agreed upon yet. Mnuchin previously told the outlet that he does not believe that Republican leaders will approved the new bill, as they want it to come with a lower price tag. He indicated that they would prefer it to be in the "neighborhood" of $1.5 trillion. Pelosi has said in the past that the main reason no package has been approved is that Democrats were willing to decrease their $3 trillion budget by $1 trillion, but that Republican leaders have been unwilling to increase their limit by the same amount.

Commenting on this, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer stated, "The House doesn't have the votes to go south of $2 trillion; the Senate Democrats can't go south of 2 trillion, so that's what compromise is all about. Because there are 20 Republicans who don't want to vote anything, that doesn't mean the whole thing should shift in their direction. You have to meet in the middle."

While there are likely many other unspoken reasons why a new bill has not been agreed upon yet, Vox previously reported that a big one is due to Republican concerns over the national debt. "The White House is trying to solve bad polling by agreeing to indefensibly bad debt," said Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska. "This proposal is not targeted to fix precise problems — it's about Democrats and Trumpers competing to outspend each other."

Vox also noted that both GOP Sens. Rand Paul (KY) and Ted Cruz (TX) are concerned about this as well, but that it has led to some tensions within the party. "It's not a winning hand that Republicans are trying to play here," a Democratic operative said. "I think it’s only made matters complicated that they’re at war with their own caucus." Notably, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has stated that national debt concerns are certainly valid, but added that "this is not the time to act on those concerns."