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Pelosi knocks GOP for insufficient funds in COVID-19 relief offer

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that White House negotiators seeking a coronavirus relief deal have simply not offered enough money to bring Democrats on board.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinDemocrats call Trump's COVID-19 response 'among the worst failures of leadership in American history' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, Biden set for weekend swing state sprint Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' MORE on Wednesday had delivered the White House's latest COVID-19 stimulus offer, which dedicates funding to many of the same areas Democrats want to target, but at much lower levels.

Pelosi said she's holding out hope that the sides can reach a deal before the Nov. 3 elections, but they remain far apart on issues like funding for state and local governments.

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"We're hopeful that we can reach agreement because the needs of the American people are so great. But there has to be a recognition that it takes money to do that," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.

The Speaker also pointed to another major sticking point preventing a last-minute stimulus deal: the Republicans' demand to continue a $150 billion tax benefit largely serving wealthy real-estate investors — which was tucked into the CARES Act in March — while resisting the Democrats' demand for $54 billion in tax credits for lower-income families. 

"They still want to keep $150 billion tax break for the wealthiest in our country, and have zero in terms of a refundable child tax credit and earned income tax credit that addresses the poorest of the poor," she said.

Pelosi said she's waiting for the White House to offer a counterproposal on the tax provisions in the coming days.  

Democrats on Monday introduced a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 package featuring most of the same relief provisions offered in their $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, which passed in May. That list includes funding for state and local governments, unemployment benefits, food stamps, rental assistance, coronavirus testing, direct payments to individuals and the Postal Service. 

Pelosi and Mnuchin met Wednesday in the Speaker's office in the Capitol, where Mnuchin delivered the White House's counteroffer to the Democrats' package. The administration has proposed $1.6 trillion in new spending, a figure first reported by Roll Call

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Pelosi said the sides have gotten closer to an agreement in several areas, including funds for small businesses and coronavirus testing and other health care programs. But larger differences remain, she added, on the amount of money earmarked for state and local governments.

As the impasse grows longer, Democrats have tentatively scheduled a vote Thursday on their $2.2 trillion bill. The timing, however, remains unannounced, pending the outcome of another conversation expected between Pelosi and Mnuchin.

"I'm hoping that we will be voting on it today," Pelosi said. 

Democratic leaders had initially scheduled that vote for Wednesday night, but they postponed the vote just hours before to allow Pelosi and Mnuchin a bit more time to hammer out a bipartisan deal that can actually become law.

Pelosi and Mnuchin are scheduled to speak again by phone on Thursday at 1 p.m. 

Scott Wong contributed.