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Pelosi, eyeing big COVID-19 deal in lame duck, wants 'clean slate' for Biden in 2021

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food Andrew Yang condemns attacks against Asian Americans Congress in lockdown: Will we just 'get used to it'? MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Democrats want to clean the slate of coronavirus aid this year, empowering a potential President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE to move quickly on other party priorities in 2021.

Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress have outlined ambitious legislative plans for next year, including efforts to bolster the nation's infrastructure, lower prescription drug costs, tackle climate change and reform the campaign finance system. 

Confident in a Biden victory, Pelosi said she wants to help jumpstart that agenda by moving another massive coronavirus package before year's end.

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"We have plenty of work to do in the Joe Biden administration," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "We'll be working between the White House and the Congress to get those jobs done, so we want to have as clean a slate as possible going into January." 

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 have hit a wall in their talks over another round of emergency coronavirus relief, all but abandoning the negotiations before Election Day and leaving the fate of another federal intervention to the lame-duck session — or beyond.

Pelosi warned Thursday that she won't accept "a small bill" that lends huge tax cuts to the wealthy, as included in the CARES Act, without providing a good dose of help for struggling families, small businesses, health care providers and unemployed workers. Pelosi has held firm to her demand for a $2.2 trillion package, while the White House has come as high as $1.9 trillion.

"We're not going to go to anything like Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell makes failed bid to adjourn Senate after hours-long delay Paul Ryan to host fundraiser for Cheney amid GOP tensions Senate Democrats near deal to reduce jobless boost to 0 MORE had," she said, referring to a $500 billion package backed by the Senate's Republican leader. "People are hungry. People are on the verge of eviction. People need money in their pocket. We have enormous challenges there." 

Still, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE has vowed to move post-election to enact "the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen.” And Pelosi is already urging Mnuchin to restart the talks that might lead to a bipartisan deal next month. 

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"Why would we be talking to them if we didn't want a bill?" she said. 

The Speaker also took a shot at the president for taking a victory lap following a historic economic rebound in the third quarter. Noting that the boost did not compensate for losses earlier in the year, she said it was federal stimulus spending, not Trump's agenda, that spurred the recovery. 

"The Cares Act deserves credit for that," she said. 

"It's as if ... we'd lost $100 in the second quarter, and now you're making up $65. Glory Hallelujah," she added. "No. And if we don't pass [another] recovery bill ... we will face dire circumstances."