House Democrats and the White House fell short of sealing a deal providing economic help to the victims of the devastating coronavirus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi (The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump takes unexpected step to stem coronavirus House Democrats unveil coronavirus economic response package Trump restricts travel from Europe to fight spread of coronavirus (MORE)
But an agreement, she quickly added, is all but assured on Friday.
“It’s fair to say we’re close to an agreement, subject to the exchange of paper, and hope to have an agreement tomorrow , “Pelosi told reporters just outside her office in the Capitol.
“One way or another,” Pelosi said, there will be a vote Friday.
The announcement came after hours of negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary (Steven Mnuchin) Steven Terner Mnuchin
House Democrats unveil coronavirus economic response package Democrats push for paid leave in coronavirus response House Democrats jam GOP with coronavirus bill MORE President Trump Donald John Trump The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump takes unexpect ed step to stem coronavirus Democrats start hinting Sanders should drop out Coronavirus disrupts presidential campaigns (MORE ) s point person on the second round of emergency coronavirus relief.
On Thursday, the two spoke at least four times by phone in search of a bipartisan stimulus bill that could pass through both chambers – a matter of increasing urgency in a week when the deadly pandemic rocked markets around the globe, shuttered schools, businesses and entire sports leagues and forced officials to close off the US Capitol to the public.
The sides have been at odds over several provisions of the sweeping, multibillion-dollar package.
Republicans, for instance, have balked at the Democrats’ paid leave proposal, fearing it creates a permanent entitlement benefit, in lieu of simply addressing the current coronavirus . Democrats, for their part, have objected to GOP demands that the legislation include language explicitly prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion services.
It’s unclear which, if any, of those sticking points remains after days of talks. But Pelosi suggested that if any issues remained unresolved on Friday, she’d table them and resume those debates on the next emergency coronavirus bill to come along.
“We’ve resolved most of our differences, and those we wouldn’t continue the conversation, because there will obviously be other bills,” she said.
With Pelosi by his side, Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal Richard Edmund Neal Democrats balk at Trump’s payroll tax cut proposal Money: Waters calls for resignation of two Wells Fargo directors, floats criminal referral for ex-CEO | Stocks plunge amid fresh coronavirus fears | Judge gives Dems one week to make move in Trump tax return case Judge gives Democrats one week for next move in Trump tax return case (MORE) (D-Mass.), A key negotiator, explained that the final package that Democrats and the White House produce should not only provide economic stimulus, but is vital for instilling confidence in a country and government rattled by the pandemic.
“We felt that putting together something that the American people would see some cooperation on between the two parties at this moment would be a confidence builder, ”Neal said.
Pelosi called Thursday’s mass sell-off in the stock market “very shocking.”
But she said the number one priority of this aid package is to give Americans assurances that they c an get free testing for the virus and help stop it from spreading.
Alex Gangitano contributed.
Updated March , 9: (pm)