Pelosi: House 'close' to striking deal with Trump on coronavirus response package

House Democrats and the White House fell short of sealing a deal providing economic help to the victims of the devastating coronavirus, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Biden urges Democrats to advocate for rescue package MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday night.

But an agreement, she quickly added, is all but assured on Friday.

"It's fair to say we're close to an agreement, subject to the exchange of paper, and hope to have an agreement tomorrow," Pelosi told reporters just outside her office in the Capitol.


“One way or another,” Pelosi said, there will be a vote Friday.

The announcement came after hours of negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinBiden cautious in making Trump tax returns decision Biden 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 MORE, President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE’s point person on the second round of emergency coronavirus relief.

On Thursday, the two spoke at least four times by phone in search of a bipartisan stimulus bill that could pass through both chambers — a matter of increasing urgency in a week when the deadly pandemic rocked markets around the globe, shuttered schools, businesses and entire sports leagues and forced officials to close off the U.S. Capitol to the public.

The sides have been at odds over several provisions of the sweeping, multibillion-dollar package.

Republicans, for instance, have balked at the Democrats’ paid leave proposal, fearing it creates a permanent entitlement benefit, in lieu of simply addressing the current coronavirus. Democrats, for their part, have objected to GOP demands that the legislation include language explicitly prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion services.

It’s unclear which, if any, of those sticking points remains after days of talks. But Pelosi suggested that if any issues remained unresolved on Friday, she’d table them and resume those debates on the next emergency coronavirus bill to come along.


“We’ve resolved most of our differences, and those we haven’t we’ll continue the conversation, because there will obviously be other bills,” she said.

With Pelosi by his side, Ways and Means Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealBiden administration 'evaluating and discussing' position on Trump tax returns Senate panel unanimously advances top Biden economic nominees Biden cautious in making Trump tax returns decision MORE (D-Mass.), a key negotiator, explained that the final package that Democrats and the White House produce should not only provide economic stimulus, but is vital for instilling confidence in a country and government rattled by the pandemic.

“We felt that putting together something that the American people would see some cooperation on between the two parties at this moment would be a confidence builder,” Neal said.

Pelosi called Thursday’s mass sell-off in the stock market “very shocking.”

But she said the number one priority of this aid package is to give Americans assurances that they can get free testing for the virus and help stop it from spreading.

“What we’re trying to do is be positive and go forward in a way to work together so that we can have people be tested, tested, tested — that's what's really important,” Pelosi said.

Alex Gangitano contributed.

Updated March 12, 9:40 p.m.