White House hoping for COVID-19 relief deal 'within weeks': spokeswoman

White House communications director Alyssa Farah said Tuesday that the White House is hoping to reach an agreement with Democrats on coronavirus relief that can be voted on “within weeks,” indicating such a deal is unlikely until after Election Day.

Speaking on "Fox & Friends," Farah said President TrumpDonald TrumpProsecutors focus Trump Organization probe on company's financial officer: report WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend MORE has been in contact with congressional leaders and that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote Clinton, Pelosi holding online Women's Day fundraiser with Chrissy Teigen, Amanda Gorman What good are the intelligence committees? MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinBiden brings back bipartisan meetings at the White House On The Money: Schumer urges Democrats to stick together on .9T bill | Collins rules out GOP support for Biden relief plan | Powell fights inflation fears Mnuchin expected to launch investment fund seeking backing from Persian Gulf region: report MORE, two of the top negotiators, spoke as recently as Monday.

“We are confident that we can get something in the coming weeks,” Farah said when asked about the prospect of a deal this week now that the Senate has confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettSupreme Court faces landmark challenge on voting rights The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election MORE.


Farah cited continuing disagreements with Democrats on what she termed “bailouts” to state and local governments and direct funding to American workers.

“We are hoping within weeks. I don’t want to get too ahead of any announcements,” Farah added when pressed on whether a deal would be reached before Nov. 3.

Negotiations between the White House and Democratic leaders have dragged on for months without yielding an agreement on new stimulus for businesses and workers impacted by the coronavirus. White House officials expressed hope last Wednesday that some kind of deal could be reached in 48 hours, but that window came and went with no breakthrough.

Still, Mnuchin and Pelosi have continued to have near-daily conversations, and there has been optimism about the prospect of a deal.

Drew Hammill, a Pelosi aide, tweeted Monday afternoon that the Speaker “remains optimistic that an agreement can be reached before the election” but said Democrats were still waiting on the Trump administration to accept their language on a national plan for COVID-19 testing. Hammill also noted that progress depends on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJudiciary Committee greenlights Garland's AG nomination This week: Senate takes up coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback Juan Williams: Hypocrisy runs riot in GOP MORE (R-Ky.) agreeing to a comprehensive bipartisan package.


McConnell, who pushed back on a price tag at or above the White House’s $1.8 trillion offer, has said he would put an agreement to a floor vote but did not commit to doing so before the elections. The GOP leader also reportedly told Senate Republicans that he warned the White House about agreeing to a deal with Pelosi before the elections because it could disrupt Barrett’s confirmation. She was confirmed Monday evening.

Trump, who has pushed for a comprehensive deal despite Republican objections to the price tag, also appeared to diminish expectations for a deal Tuesday morning, tweeting that Pelosi is “only looking to Bail Out badly run Democrat Cities.”

Democrats have sought funding for cash-strapped state and local governments impacted by the pandemic, though Trump has regularly accused Pelosi of seeking to “bail out” jurisdictions whose funds have been mismanaged by Democrats.

“She has little interest in helping out the ‘people,’” Trump tweeted. 

Trump, who is currently trailing Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill Rural Americans are the future of the clean energy economy — policymakers must to catch up WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year MORE in national and battleground state polling one week before the presidential election, has oscillated incredibly in his rhetoric on future stimulus. 

In earlier October, Trump abruptly announced on Twitter he would walk away from negotiations until after the election, only to say hours later that he wanted standalone bills on stimulus checks and airline assistance. At various points since, he has claimed he wants an agreement above the $2.2 trillion package passed by the Democratic-controlled House.