Clyburn predicts action on coronavirus relief after elections

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday predicted that lawmakers won’t act on a coronavirus relief package until the lame-duck session after the Nov. 3 elections.

“The election is less than two weeks away, and I believe we’ll be back in Washington a week or two after the elections and we can do something there. At least the elections will be behind us. People will know what their futures are,” Clyburn said on CNN.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Trump administration are still negotiating a stimulus package, which they’ve struggled to strike a deal on for the last three months.

Time is increasingly running short to reach an agreement, craft the legislative language for a package that could cost around $2 trillion and pass it through both chambers of Congress before Election Day.

Pelosi said early Wednesday afternoon that her goal is to get a bill done before the elections.

“I’m optimistic that there will be a bill. It’s a question of, is it in time to pay the November rent, which is my goal, or is it going to be shortly thereafter and retroactive?” Pelosi said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

“The election is coming soon. We know that the new Congress and new president are just two and a half months away. We don’t want to wait that long. We want to get something done for the American people as soon as possible,” she added.

Pelosi told House Democrats in a letter Tuesday night that a conversation with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier in the day “provided more clarity and common ground as we move closer to an agreement.”

Pelosi said that she was turning to committee chairs to “resolve differences about funding levels and language” and would speak again with Mnuchin on Wednesday.

The House is currently not scheduled to return to Washington until Nov. 16.

Even if a bill was released and considered in the House within the next week, it’s unclear whether the Senate would quickly take it up.

Pelosi and Mnuchin are currently discussing a coronavirus relief package between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion, while President Trump has shown interest in going even higher.

But Senate Republicans are less keen on that price tag. The Senate will vote Wednesday on a more scaled-down, $500 billion package, but it’s not expected to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the second-ranking Senate Republican, said earlier this week that he didn’t know if at least 13 Republicans would vote for a $1.8 trillion package, the minimum number to advance such a bill if all 47 Democrats supported it.

And during a closed-door lunch on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told GOP senators that he had warned the White House not to make a deal with Pelosi right before the elections because it could disrupt plans to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, in the coming days, according to The Washington Post.

–Updated at 1:40 p.m.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump John Thune Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Pandemic relief bill Steven Mnuchin Stimulus

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