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Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Pelosi 'hopeful' on virus relief bill before election

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Pelosi 'hopeful' on virus relief bill before election
Pelosi 'hopeful' on virus relief bill before election

The highest-ranking Democratic lawmaker on Sunday said that despite differences with the Republican White House, she thought it possible to reach agreement on a large rescue package before Election Day.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday (October 18) she was 'optimistic' Democratic lawmakers could reach an agreement with President Donald Trump's administration on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package.

But she said differences remain between the two sides.

Pelosi, the top elected Democrat, said she wanted a bill passed before the Nov.

3 presidential election, but acknowledged an agreement would have to come within 48 hours for that to happen.

However, with her negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, in the Middle East until Tuesday, a deal appears to be a long shot.

Democrats are seeking a $2.2 trillion rescue bill.

The White House proposed $1.8 trillion last week, which Pelosi said fell short on aid to state and local governments, worker protections, and rent relief.

Meanwhile Senate Republicans led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are planning to vote next week on a pared-down quote-unquote "skinny" bill of roughly $500 billion in targeted aid.

Democrats have rejected the Republican plan as "piecemeal." One of the remaining gaps between Mnuchin and Pelosi is the matter of testing.

Pelosi told ABC News on Sunday the White House "took out 55 percent of the language that we had there for testing and tracing.

And the tracing part is so important because communities of color had been disproportionately affected by this." She added, "we don't have agreement on the language yet, but I'm hopeful."

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