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Pelosi, Mnuchin talk stimulus but stalemate remains

Pelosi, Mnuchin talk stimulus but stalemate remains
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a Senate vote | Pelosi, Mnuchin see progress, but no breakthrough | Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over financial records Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a Senate vote | Pelosi, Mnuchin see progress, but no breakthrough | Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over financial records Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate MORE spoke by phone on Tuesday but did not make headway on a weeks-long stalemate over a stimulus package to provide Americans with economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone for 36 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, after the Treasury secretary testified before the House select committee overseeing the coronavirus crisis.

Both sides remain firm in their positions: Democrats are proposing a $2.2 trillion package, while the White House is calling for a proposal around $1.3 trillion.

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"Sadly, this phone call made clear that Democrats and the White House continue to have serious differences understanding the gravity of the situation that America’s working families are facing," Pelosi said in a statement.

During his testimony before the House panel on Tuesday, Mnuchin said that he did not support the $2.2 trillion proposal offered by Democrats, which is down from a previous offer of $2.4 trillion.

"I do not support $2.2 trillion," Mnuchin said.

Pelosi reiterated that she thinks the pared-down proposals from the White House and Senate Republicans don't go nearly far enough in addressing the coronavirus crisis.

"Does the White House think that America’s working families are not worth the investment needed to defeat the virus and the accompanying economic crisis? Or would they rather spend the money another way?" Pelosi said.

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The lack of progress during the Pelosi-Mnuchin call on Tuesday came less than a week after she spoke with White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsMcConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate Meadows says Trump did not order declassification of Russia documents The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base MORE over the phone. That call similarly did not yield much headway.

Mnuchin said during his testimony that both he and President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE support more aid for workers, schools, small businesses and testing.

“Let me say I very much agree with you and those other experts that more fiscal response is needed. The president and I want to move forward with more fiscal response,” Mnuchin said.

During Tuesday's hearing, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersSafeguarding US elections by sanctioning Russian sovereign debt Kamala Harris and the stereotypes we place on Black women OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Top general negative for coronavirus, Pentagon chief to get tested after Trump result l Top House lawmakers launch investigation into Pentagon redirecting COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Calif.) urged Mnuchin to immediately restart negotiations with Pelosi.

“Can I tell her that you suggested I call her right after the hearing?” Mnuchin asked Waters.

“Yes, yes, yes,” Waters replied.

“Done! I will call her right after the hearing,” Mnuchin said.

Senate Republicans are planning to vote next week on a "targeted" coronavirus relief bill. But the legislation is unlikely to secure the necessary 60 votes for passage given that Democrats are calling for a far more expansive bill.

The weekly $600 federal unemployment insurance payments created by the March coronavirus relief law expired at the end of July. Trump took executive action to temporarily supplement unemployment insurance by $400 per week, but that aid has still not reached people in many states.

The Trump administration also issued an order on Tuesday banning landlords from evicting tenants from properties if they cannot afford to pay rent because of income lost from the pandemic.