Schumer indicates stimulus talks likely to drag into Saturday

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) signaled that negotiations over a mammoth stimulus package are likely to push past a midnight deadline and into Saturday as negotiators continue to work through several outstanding issues.

“I think we’re making good progress but I think it’s a big complicated huge bill. And tonight, is — I would hope we could come to agreements tomorrow,” Schumer told reporters when asked if he thought senators and the administration could get a deal by the end of Friday.

Pressed if he was saying a deal was likely instead on Saturday, he added: “They’re making progress but there’s so much to do. I think tonight is hard.”

“There is still some significant outstanding issues, very significant to our side that they haven’t agreed to,” Schumer added.

Negotiators have been behind closed doors for most of Friday as they’ve tried to reach a deal on the third coronavirus package, which is expected to include at least $1 trillion in federal spending.

Part of the sticking points include a push to expand unemployment insurance, boosting funding for hospitals and a State Stabilization Fund — leaving a laundry list of issues that still need to be worked just over four hours before the midnight deadline set by Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants a deal “in principle” by the end of Friday, and said earlier in the day that he would use Saturday to begin drafting the final stimulus plan. He’s scheduled an initial vote on a “shell” bill, a placeholder for the eventual agreement, for Sunday.

Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, didn’t preclude that a deal could still be reached on Friday but warned that Republicans were prepared to start drafting the legislation on Saturday, one way or another.

“With the way the schedule is now accelerated in the Senate, the Senate needs to begin drafting legislative text and they’ll turn to that next,” Ueland said.

Pressed on whether he thought a deal “in principle” could not be reached on Friday, he added, “I don’t want to be negative about where we are … but the clock is ticking.” 

Tags Coronavirus Mitch McConnell

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