Stimulus Checks, Census, 'Crushing the Virus': Where Pelosi, Mnuchin Agree, Disagree With Just 11 Days to Election

As the days until the election dwindles so does the hope of another coronavirus relief package and while the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have made headway, they have yet to iron out the final details.

Pelosi's self-imposed 48-hour deadline expired on Tuesday, but given the progress the two made in their discussion, they kept negotiating through the rest of the week. As of Friday, the two had yet to reach a full agreement and with only 11 days until the election, legislators were skeptical that a bill could be finalized and passed in both chambers before people cast their ballots.

Since Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is leading negotiation for the White House, began their talks in August, one of the areas of contention was how to handle the pandemic. Pelosi and Democrats accused the White House and Republicans of failing to acknowledge the severity of the outbreak and allocate funds accordingly.

However, the two sides made "good progress" on the subject his week, Pelosi said during her weekly press conference on Thursday. Although they had yet to completely sign off on the provision, the speaker said "we're just about there" in reaching an agreement on how to allocate resources and establish policies to "crush the virus."

The health care package that they're "in a good place on," according to Pelosi includes funding health care providers, vaccine development and distribution and meeting the health needs of people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

nancy pelosi stimulus deal election
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday in Washington, D.C. She told reporters that stimulus negotiations are making progress and that it was possible a bill could be voted on in the House before the election but said writing it would take time. Sarah Silbiger/Getty

Another area of agreement is another round of stimulus checks. President Donald Trump has long supported sending more direct payments out and said he was ready to sign a bill for a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks. Democrats have also supported the measure and Pelosi said on Thursday that she thinks they've come "to terms on" the issue.

While Mnuchin's past comments make it reasonable to deduce that the second round of payments would be the same as the first, the final agreement has yet to be released. And, without a deal on a comprehensive package, people are unlikely to see another payment. Fortunately, though, if a package passes both the House and the Senate and earns a signature from Trump, people could start receiving their payment the following week, according to Mnuchin.

Still open-ended, however, is the issue of how to spend funding for schools to ensure students are safe when they're in class. Pelosi said she and Mnuchin exchanged texts on the issue and she explained why the resources they requested were needed to protect children.

Another issue plaguing the discussion? The Census and elections, Pelosi said. She added that she's "sad" about their inability to come to terms on support for the Census and elections because "it's central to who we are as a people and so called for in our Constitution."

While Pelosi had hope that a deal could be reached before the election, some legislators weren't so sure Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dick Shelby told CNN, "It could always be a miracle, but not very many around here."

The Speaker denied her hope was unfounded and told reporters on Thursday that she and Mnuchin have both said they wouldn't be engaging in talks if they had no purpose. If the two sides could create a bill within 72 hours of Thursday, Pelosi said she thought she could bring to the floor of the House for a vote before the election. Certain parts are already being written, but she noted, "it will take awhile to write the bill," fostering skepticism that a vote won't occur before November 3.