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Mnuchin, Pelosi to talk again on coronavirus deal, as hard deadline of Election Day nears

The Senate on Tuesday will vote on a small-scale coronavirus package, but it is not expected to pass.

Updated: October 19, 2020 - 1:52pm

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The White House on Monday sounded an optimistic message about agreeing to a deal with congressional Democrats on more coronavirus relief money, but the possibility of payments getting into the hands of Americans before Election Day is quickly becoming more unlikely.

"We remain committed to negotiating and also committed to making sure that we get a deal as quickly as possible," White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Fox News. 

Meadows again put the burden on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), amid negotiations that have stalled for months over such key issues as how much to spend and how to distribute the money.

"If Nancy Pelosi will be reasonable, she'll find the president of the United States to be reasonable, and we'll get something across the finish line," Meadows said. 

He also promised payments for families bigger than the $1,200 per adult and $500 per child that was delivered this spring.

Pelosi this past weekend set an informal deadline of Tuesday to strike a deal that would lead to legislation before Election Day Nov. 3.

The White House and Republicans' chief negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, is in Abu Dhabi on Monday but will talk by phone with Pelosi this afternoon.

The GOP-controlled Senate will vote on a stimulus proposal that is roughly one-third the size of a trillion-dollar measure on which Pelosi and Mnuchin are negotiating, according to the Associated Press. However, the bill has already failed to pass the Senate and is not expected to pass this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is resurrecting a roughly $650 billion measure that would provide a second round of paycheck relief, add $300 per week in supplemental unemployment benefits, and help schools and universities reopen. It contains no funding for states and local governments sought by Democrats and ignores Trump's demand for another, larger, round of direct payments, the wire service also reports. 

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