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Pelosi and Mnuchin plan last-ditch meeting on virus relief

SeattlePI.com Wednesday, 30 September 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin planned to meet face to face for the first time in more than a month Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to seal a tentative accord on an additional round of coronavirus relief.

The Democratic-controlled House, meanwhile, moved on a separate track to overrun GOP opposition and pass a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 rescue bill as one of their final acts before leaving Washington to campaign.

Pelosi and Mnuchin were scheduled to continue negotiations in hopes of a deal that would permit another round of $1,200 direct stimulus payments, restore bonus pandemic jobless benefits, speed aid to schools and extend assistance to airlines, restaurants and other struggling businesses.

“We’re going to give it one more serious try to get this done, and I think we’re hopeful that we can get something done,” Mnuchin said Wednesday morning on CNBC.

Wednesday afternoon's meeting at the Capitol is supposed to feature a new Trump administration offer. Mnuchin told CNBC that he expects the proposal to resemble a plan released a couple of weeks ago by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus that totaled about $1.5 trillion — but was previously rejected by Pelosi and other top Democrats as inadequate.

Pelosi and Mnuchin have ramped up talks in recent days but remain far apart. The two have worked effectively together in the past and were key forces on a $2 trillion aid package that passed in March, but the bipartisan spirit that drove that measure into law has all but evaporated. Neither side has publicly offered the kind of concessions that would generate tangible momentum.

Republicans say they cannot stomach any agreement close to the $2.2 trillion bill that Democrats are pushing. The GOP immediately swung against Pelosi's bill, saying the liberal Speaker...
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