On The Money: Mnuchin pitches Pelosi $916B coronavirus deal with Trump’s blessing | White House offers direct payments, state and local aid
Happy Tuesday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.
THE BIG DEAL—Mnuchin says he offered Pelosi $916B coronavirus relief deal with Trump’s approval: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that he offered Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a $916 billion coronavirus relief deal as both parties race to strike a deal before the end of 2020.
In a statement, Mnuchin said he pitched Pelosi Tuesday afternoon on a deal backed by President Trump and marginally more expensive than the $908 billion bipartisan package the Speaker endorsed with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
- Mnuchin said the White House proposal includes support for state and local businesses—a top Democratic priority—and liability protections for businesses Republicans have insisted on including in a deal.
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters at the Capitol that the offer also included direct payments to households, expanded aid to small businesses, and funding for vaccine distribution.
- “It focuses on the things that need to be there,” McCarthy said. “I don’t see a reason why Pelosi should be opposed to it.”
- But Pelosi and Schumer pushed back on the offer in a joint statement, saying it impeded the progress of bipartisan negotiations and cut support for unemployment benefits to an “unacceptable” level.
I’ve got more on Mnuchin’s offer here.
The context: The White House offer comes as lawmakers and the administration face a Dec. 31 deadline to extend crucial coronavirus relief programs and an even earlier deadline to fund the government.
- Trump and congressional leaders in both parties all agree that another round of economic aid is essential to support the U.S. economy through what could be the most excruciating stage of the pandemic.
- Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have shattered records throughout the country over the past two months and are expected to climb higher thanks to holiday travel and colder weather.
The squabbling: Of course, the White House and Congress have tried and failed to agree on a coronavirus deal for several months now, and on Tuesday it seemed like some obstacles were beginning to take hold.
- Mitch McConnell proposed keeping two thorny issues — coronavirus-related liability protection and funding for state and local governments — out of the next COVID-19 relief bill. Pelosi called the idea “appalling.”
- A group of Democratic senators led by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are also pressing colleagues to include $1,200 direct payments in a new COVID-19 relief package and say a $908 billion compromise proposal endorsed by moderates doesn’t go far enough.
Read more on the push for a COVID-19 relief deal:
- Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to create another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses as coronavirus cases surge across the country.
- Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) on Tuesday pushed for tax relief to remote and mobile workers to be included in a coronavirus relief package this year.
LEADING THE DAY
CBO: Deficit climbs 25 percent to $430 billion through November: The federal deficit in October and November, the first two months of the 2021 fiscal year, came to $430 billion, an increase of $87 billion, or 25 percent, over the same period last year, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
- Deficits have soared since President Trump took office, reaching nearly $1 trillion in 2019.
- Extraordinary fiscal efforts to prevent an economic collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic brought the 2020 deficit to a record-shattering $3.13 trillion.
- For comparison, the full-year deficit in 2016 amounted to $585 billion.
The Hill’s Niv Elis walks us through the numbers here.
DeLauro intends to be ‘strong chair’ as Appropriations leader: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the next chairwoman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, is an unapologetic liberal who will take the gavel at a critical moment for the committee and the country.
DeLauro, 77, the second woman in history and in a row to lead the panel, will be a key player in deciding how to appropriate funding to deal with a pandemic that has already killed more than 280,000 Americans and is rapidly worsening.
“What may be different this time is the environment in which we’re all working,” DeLauro told The Hill in an interview.
She noted that the effects of the pandemic have underscored already existing problems.
“There’s a general crisis both in health and the economy, and the inequities and inequalities that have been exposed by the virus,” she said
The Hill talks to the next chairwoman here.
GOOD TO KNOW
- President-elect Joe Biden is set to nominate Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to multiple reports Tuesday.
- Restaurants and bars are running short on innovative ways to stay afloat as surging coronavirus cases and colder weather close in on some of America’s most vulnerable businesses.
- Black-owned businesses that saw a boost in consumer purchases following this summer’s nationwide protests over racial injustice will soon see if those gains extend through the crucial holiday shopping season and into 2021.
ODDS AND ENDS
- A German court has ordered Tesla to stop clearing forests at a site meant for a future factory due to concerns from environmentalists that the development could endanger hibernating snakes, Reuters reported on Tuesday.