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On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline

On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline
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THE BIG DEAL—Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid: House Democrats, increasingly anxious about leaving Washington without acting on coronavirus relief, are amping up the pressure on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Overnight Health Care: CDC expands definition of 'close contact' after COVID-19 report | GOP coronavirus bill blocked in Senate | OxyContin maker agrees to B settlement with Trump administration MORE (D-Calif.) to bring emergency aid to the floor before Congress heads home next week. 

Pelosi had refused to budge from her demand for a $2.2 trillion package, but a growing number of uneasy centrist Democrats are clamoring to vote on some new stimulus legislation before the House is scheduled to break on Oct. 2.

“I think we ought to be taking up COVID-19 legislation before we leave here, and I don't think we ought to wait,” Hoyer said. “People are really hurting.”

The Hill’s Mike Lillis breaks it down here.

The Democratic divides:

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What they’re saying: 

Where things stand: Both Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE said Thursday that they’re ready to restart negotiations over another relief bill — a small but necessary first step.

  • “I've probably spoken to Speaker Pelosi 15 or 20 times in the last few days on the CR,” Mnuchin told the Senate Banking Committee, referring to a continuing resolution to extend government funding, “and we've agreed to continue to have discussions about the CARES Act.”
  • Pelosi also said Thursday that she expected negotiations with the White House to resume shortly and asked Democratic committee chiefs to craft another offer to get the ball rolling.

Even so, there are plenty of obstacles standing in the way of another deal. Partisan tensions are escalating with Election Day just six weeks away. The battle over the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Mitt Romney did not vote for Trump in 2020 election The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett MORE has also poisoned the well of bipartisanship and will suck up precious floor time and political oxygen in the Senate.

LEADING THE DAY

Initial jobless claims increase to 870,000: The number of new jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 19 increased to a seasonally adjusted 870,000, a small increase of 4,000 from the previous week. But unadjusted claims spiked by 28,527, or 3.6 percent, reaching 824,542.

"This is heartbreaking, both taking a broad view and also at the personal level for the more than 800,000 individuals who filed through traditional state programs, as well as the more than 600,000 who filed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program," said Mark Hamrick, senior economist at Bankrate.com.

"This means about 1.5 million new claims were seen in the latest week under these programs," he added.

The Hill’s Niv Elis breaks it down here.

Senate to push funding bill vote up against shutdown deadline: Senators are poised to punt passage of a must-pass stopgap government funding bill into next week, up against the Wednesday deadline to prevent a shutdown. 

The Senate is scheduled to take a procedural vote related to the continuing resolution (CR) on Thursday, but then leave town for the weekend. GOP senators say passage of the funding bill, which would keep the government open through Dec. 11, would take place either on Tuesday evening or Wednesday. 

The risk: Democrats are mulling their procedural options, arguing that the Senate should not have "business as usual" if Republicans are going to confirm a Supreme Court nominee for President Trump after refusing to give Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE, former President Obama's final Supreme Court nominee, a vote in 2016. 

The Hill’s Jordain Carney tells us more here.

GOOD TO KNOW

ODDS AND ENDS

  • A district court judge on Thursday said that the Trump administration must either delay a ban on TikTok from American app stores or file legal papers defending the move by Friday afternoon.
  • Advocates for the food, beverage and household products industry are pushing for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to give their workers priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine after health care workers and first responders.