- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2020

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday morning that the Democrats’ U.S. Postal Service bill gives him hope for a “skinny” coronavirus relief package.

The former North Carolina Republican congressman said that he’s optimistic this bill is a sign House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is thawing on her opposition to a “piecemeal” approach to coronavirus relief.

“Let’s add in the things that we can agree upon, perhaps funding for schools, [Paycheck Protection Program], maybe the stimulus checks,” Mr. Meadows told reporters.

Democrats are set to vote Saturday on a bill that will revert any operation policies to what was in place in January 2020 and provide $25 billion in funding.

“If that’s indicative of what Speaker Pelosi might bring to the floor, I’m encouraged,” Mr. Meadows said.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, have staunchly opposed doing any short-term extensions or narrow bills to address the continued economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on schools and families, arguing that the scope of the crisis requires a comprehensive approach.

Talks between the top Democrats and the White House stalled earlier this month before President Trump signed executive orders to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, pause evictions, institute a payroll tax break and defer student loans.

Democrats blamed the Republicans for not agreeing to a middle ground between their $3.5 trillion proposal and the GOP’s $1 trillion.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said there could be some wiggle room on a top-line number, but they needed to see serious compromises on enhanced unemployment benefits and funding to state and local governments.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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