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 TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE has been in contact with congressional leaders and that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrat says he won't introduce resolution to censure Greene after her apology Democrats weigh next steps on Jan. 6 probe 21 Republicans vote against awarding medals to police who defended Capitol on Jan. 6 MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says 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 BarrettThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden on Putin: 'a worthy adversary' McConnell sparks new Supreme Court fight McConnell signals GOP would block Biden Supreme Court pick in '24 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 McConnellOn The Money: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process on Wednesday | Four states emerge as test case for cutting off jobless benefits GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' McConnell presses for 'actual consequences' in disclosure of tax data 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 BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics 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.