Wed, 21 Oct 2020

US Treasury Chief, Pelosi Make New Effort on Coronavirus Aid

Voice of America
01 Oct 2020, 17:35 GMT+10

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are set to meet again Thursday as they try to negotiate a new round of long-stalled coronavirus relief.

Pelosi said the two sides had an "extensive conversation" Wednesday and that talks would continue. Mnuchin told Fox Business in a late Wednesday interview that if the there is "a fair compromise, we're prepared to do it."

Negotiations have been stalled over the size of the aid package.

House Democrats initially proposed a $3.4 trillion measure but have since trimmed their proposal to $2.2 trillion. Mnuchin said Wednesday that number is still too high, with the White House plan sitting around $1.5 trillion.

An agreement could include sending more money to American families and businesses, restoring unemployment aid to millions of unemployed workers laid off from jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, helping airlines hit by huge losses in revenue this year, providing assistance to state and local governments and offering liability protection to businesses.

The U.S. death toll is about 207,000 - more than in any other country in the world - and more than 7.2 million Americans have been infected, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Even if Mnuchin and Pelosi agree on a package, it is unclear whether the Republican-controlled Senate will accept it.

Wednesday's Mnuchin-Pelosi meeting was their first in-person discussion since bipartisan talks collapsed in early August.

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