House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to reach an agreement on a coronavirus relief package Wednesday.
Following a roughly 90-minute meeting — the first time the pair had met in person in more than a month — Pelosi said negotiations will continue, and the House pushed off a scheduled final vote Wednesday evening on the slimmed-down, $2.2 trillion stimulus bill Democrats introduced earlier this week. The vote, now slated for Thursday, would be largely symbolic in the absence of an agreement with the White House, since the Democrat’s package has virtually no chance of being taken up by the Republican-controlled Senate.
“Today, Secretary Mnuchin and I had an extensive conversation and we found areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our conversations will continue,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Mnuchin sounded cautiously optimistic after the meeting, saying the negotiators had “made a lot of progress over the last few days” and “we’re going to see where we end up” after more talks. In an interview with CNBC earlier in the day, Mnuchin said the White House was interested in a stimulus package similar to the $1.5 trillion bill put forth two weeks ago by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. However, there were no details about the offer Mnuchin presented to Pelosi in the meeting.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sounded a more pessimistic note Wednesday, telling reporters that a deal remained elusive. “We’re very, very far apart,” he said.