Pelosi: Covid relief deal could still happen before Election Day

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With only nine days until Election Day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she’s still “optimistic” about Congress passing a coronavirus relief package before Nov. 3.

“I never give up hope. I’m optimistic. We put pen to paper and had been writing the bill based on what we hope will be the outcome, what they said they would get back to us on,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Relief talks among Pelosi, the Trump administration and Republican congressional leaders have been stalled for months, but the House speaker said Tuesday she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were “on a path” to a massive deal.

On Friday, Pelosi told CNN she sent Mnuchin a list of concerns “that we still had about ‘what is the answer?'”

“My understanding is he will be reviewing that over the weekend, and we will have some answers on Monday,” she said Sunday.

Pelosi said she’ll not hold out to see whether Democrats win the White House and the Senate and keep the House after in the Nov. 3 elections to pursue a bill more to Democrats’ liking. Instead, she said she’ll continue working to get a relief bill passed “as soon as possible.”

The speaker went on to say that a relief bill could be passed as soon as this week in the House, but that it’s up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) whether it would go to the Senate floor.

McConnell has largely steered clear of stimulus talks recently and many GOP senators are opposed to the $2 trillion deal being discussed by Pelosi and Mnuchin. On Tuesday, McConnell softened his stance a bit, saying he would allow the Senate to vote on a Pelosi-Mnuchin agreement — assuming that first Trump agrees to sign it.

Earlier Sunday on CNN, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said, “We’ve identified those Senate Republicans most likely to vote” for the relief deal to pass. But he said Republicans will not blindly pass the bill without first reading its terms fully.

“We are not Nancy Pelosi. We are not going to vote or opine on a bill and pass it before we have read it,” he said.

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