House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reached a tentative deal to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month, Politico reports.
The two sides struck a preliminary agreement on a short-term funding bill that would avoid a shutdown even though they have been stuck on negotiations over the next phase of coronavirus relief.
“House Democrats are for a clean continuing resolution," Pelosi deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill told Politico, meaning that coronavirus aid would not be tied to the government funding deal.
But there is no agreement on how long the funding deal would be.
Democrats are pushing to extend the funding through mid-March while Republicans seem to want to extend it until shortly after the November election.
Impasse over coronavirus relief:
The Senate is set to return from vacation next week and the House will be back shortly after that amid negotiations over the coronavirus relief package.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has tried to get 51 votes to approve a Republican-led bill but that appears unlikely. Democrats oppose the plan so it would not get the 60 votes it needs and any bill would have to be approved by the Pelosi-led House.
Senate Republicans offered a $500 billion bill that would include $300 per week in federal unemployment boosts, another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding for small businesses, $105 billion for education, and liability protection against lawsuits.
Mnuchin has said he would be willing to spend up to $1.5 trillion in the next bill.
Democrats reject GOP proposal:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected the GOP proposal, arguing that it falls far short of the $3.4 trillion bill House Democrats passed in May.
Pelosi has also offered a compromise bill at $2.2 trillion but was rebuffed by the White House.
“Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,’ but it would be more appropriate to call it ‘emaciated,’” Schumer said Thursday. “With no money for rental assistance, no money for nutrition assistance, and no money for state and local services, the census, or safe elections, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans would be making another unacceptable and ineffective attempt at providing relief.”