Wait and see.
After promising to put up an economic relief bill for a vote on Wednesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held an “extensive conversation” Wednesday on a huge COVID-19 rescue package, meeting face to face for the first time in more than a month in a last-ditch effort to seal a tentative accord on an additional round of coronavirus relief.
After a 90-minute meeting in the Capitol, Pelosi issued a statement saying the two would continue to talk and the vote will not be held just yet. “We found areas where we are seeking further clarification,” she said.
“We made a lot of progress over the last few days. We still don’t have an agreement,” Mnuchin said after meeting with Pelosi and briefing top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell.
Wall Street plunged after the news broke, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average giving up most of a 550-point gain in the final hour of trading.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/)
At issue, is a long-delayed package that would extend another round of $1,200 direct stimulus payments, restore bonus pandemic jobless benefits, speed aid to schools and extend assistance to airlines, restaurants and other struggling businesses.
Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin were able to reach a tentative agreement on “top line” spending levels, a particularly difficult issue, Pelosi told her colleagues earlier in the day, remains McConnell’s insistence on a liability shield for businesses fearing COVID-related lawsuits after they reopen their doors.
Mnuchin said he hopes to reach an “understanding” with Pelosi for a deal by Thursday, or the talks will collapse.
With Wire Services