- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that lawmakers are close to finalizing a deal on a $2 trillion phase three coronavirus economic stimulus plan.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, made the rounds on the morning talk shows and said she was optimistic about the deal Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin have been negotiating around the clock.

“My hope is that while we’re in the red zone here, we get across the finish line, and that we do so in a way that we can bring the bill to the floor under unanimous consent,” she said on MSNBC.

“Assuming we’re in agreement … we can do that very quickly,” Mrs. Pelosi added.

After two procedural votes failed the Senate, Mr. McConnell was forced to essentially restart the clock on the next vote — setting that up for likely Wednesday, even if a deal is reached on Tuesday.

Mr. Schumer on the Senate floor said negotiators were at the “two-yard-line” but expects a deal in a matter of hours.

The stimulus package would provide direct cash payments to the American public, loans to small businesses, aid to hard-hit industries and more resources to the stressed health care system.

Two of Democrats’ biggest priorities were more unemployment benefits, oversight on the aid to corporations, and funds to stabilize state and local governments.

Mrs. Pelosi noted that if they can’t vote on the Senate bill with unanimous consent, they would consider other options — amending it on the House floor or passing their own bill.

On Monday evening, House Democrats unveiled their own $2.5 trillion plan that would do much of what the Senate bill does but expands to also fund 2020 elections and student loan forgiveness. It also implements new green regulations for airlines that receive aid.

Speaking about the Senate bill negotiations, Mrs. Pelosi touted that Democrats secured a number of victories, most notably an inspector general and congressional oversight of the money that hard-hit corporations will receive from the government.

She noted that they did not, however, secure the funds they wanted for elections, but said it was not something that would derail the bill.

“This is a bubble up. I’m very pleased with the progress we have made for workers,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

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

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