Amid Stimulus Stalemate, Democrats Await 'Substantive' White House Response

Democrats are hoping for a response from the GOP to their updated HEROES Act on Wednesday as they aim to move beyond the stimulus package stalemate.

An old version of the bill passed the House of Representatives in May, but was branded dead on arrival upon being sent to the Senate.

There have since been moves to secure a bipartisan agreement, though as yet they have been unsuccessful.

The Democrats have since altered the HEROES Act, bringing its cost down from $3.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion, with its price tag having been an issue for Republicans opposing it.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said it was hoped a "substantive response" would be provided to the updated act on Wednesday.

Speaking Tuesday, he said this would hopefully come by noon Wednesday, according to MarketWatch and Roll Call.

Talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have been ongoing, though previous discussions between Democratic figureheads and White House representatives have failed to breach the impasse.

Pelosi said Tuesday she was "always optimistic" when asked if they were any closer to an agreement.

"Our conversation was a positive one," she said when asked on MSNBC about talks with Mnuchin on Tuesday.

Asked if she was optimistic as to whether the updated HEROES Act could be voted through the House and then the Senate too, she said: "Well, we're in a negotiation, and hopefully we'll come to a bipartisan agreement that will remove all doubt that the legislation will pass and be signed by the President."

In a message to Democratic colleagues, Pelosi said she hoped the updated act would have "a strong vote on the floor."

"The legislation that we plan to send to the floor will formalize our proffer to Republicans to come to negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country," she said.

"With your support, we hope to have a strong vote on the floor to support lives, livelihoods and the life of our democracy."

Since the CARES Act passed in March, there have been bipartisan disputes over what further action should be taken. Republican leadership in the Senate originally called for a pause to assess the impact of previous support before enacting further measures.

However, there has since been consensus among figureheads on both sides of the aisle, as well as the White House, that more action needs be taken.

The overall spend has been a point of disagreement, while details such as the amount paid in enhanced unemployment benefits and the extent of liability protections have also created a divide.

A point of agreement has been for more stimulus checks, which the updates HEROES Act still proposes.

Newsweek has contacted Hoyer, Pelosi and the White House for comment.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and U.S. House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) take part in the signing of the Bill Enrollment For The Great American Outdoors Act on Capitol Hill on July 23, 2020. Democrats are awaiting the White House response to their updated HEROES Act. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images