BREAKING: Democrats release new $2.2trillion COVID package

Steve Mnuchin and the GOP say they are open to talks on the Democrats’ new $2.2trillion COVID package that includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, $600 in extra unemployment and $225billion for schools

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Monday 
  •  ‘The two agreed to speak again tomorrow morning’, according to her aide 
  • The scaled back package will ‘protect lives, livelihoods, and the life of our democracy over the coming months’ Pelosi told her fellow Democrats
  • It includes weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January and a second stimulus check of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent
  • The package also includes $75 billion for coronavirus testing

Steve Mnuchin and the GOP are said to be open to talks on the Democrats’ new $2.2trillion COVID package that includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, $600 in extra unemployment and $225billion for schools. 

The scaled back, last ditch proposal represents a cutback from a $3.4 billion bill that passed the House in May, but remains well above what Senate Republicans had been willing to accept. Republicans have endorsed staying in the $650 billion to $1 trillion range.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her fellow Democrats Monday that the proposal will ‘protect lives, livelihoods, and the life of our democracy over the coming months’. More than 7.1 million Americans have tested positive for the virus; 204,905 have died,

The package includes weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January, a second stimulus check of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent and $75 billion for coronavirus testing. 

Talks have stalled between the Republicans and Democrats following the $3 trillion Heroes Act, passed by the House in May. The earlier Cares Act was signed into law in response to the pandemic in March.

Pelosi spoke with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Monday; the two agreed to speak again Tuesday, according to her aide. Mnuchin has said he is open to negotiations, The Washington Post reports.

Pelosi in recent days has said she thinks a deal can be reached with the White House on a new coronavirus relief package and that talks were continuing. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has said that Donald Trump would be willing to sign a $1.3 trillion relief package.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: 'It has been more than four months since House Democrats sent the GOP Senate $3.4 trillion in desperately needed coronavirus relief grounded in science and data, and Leader McConnell hit the pause button'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: ‘It has been more than four months since House Democrats sent the GOP Senate $3.4 trillion in desperately needed coronavirus relief grounded in science and data, and Leader McConnell hit the pause button’

In a letter to Democratic lawmakers released by Pelosi’s office, she said the legislation ‘includes new funding needed to avert catastrophe for schools, small businesses, restaurants, performance spaces, airline workers and others.’

‘Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill,’ she said. ‘We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now.’ 

The package has $436 billion to help pay for vital workers like first responders and health workers ‘who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs’. 

It would also send a whopping $225 billion to colleges and universities, and deliver another round of subsidies to businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program. 

House Democratic leaders may hold a vote on it as early as Thursday but time is running out before the November elections for an agreement. 

The proposal includes a second stimulus check of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent (stock image)

The proposal includes a second stimulus check of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent (stock image)

In a statement Pelosi said: ‘It has been more than four months since House Democrats sent the GOP Senate $3.4 trillion in desperately needed coronavirus relief grounded in science and data, and Leader McConnell hit the pause button.

‘In our negotiations with the White House since then, Democrats offered to come down a trillion dollars if Republicans would come up a trillion dollars. T

‘Then, we offered to come down $200 billion more, even as the health and economic crisis has worsened and the needs have only grown.’ 

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, tweeted: ‘Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Mnuchin spoke at 6:30 p.m. tonight via phone after House Democrats introduced an updated version of the Heroes Act. 

‘The two agreed to speak again tomorrow morning.’  

Talks over the summer broke down in acrimony and name-calling, and conversations this month haven’t produced visible progress. Even if the rival sides could agree on a ‘top line’ figure from which to negotiate details, dozens of difficult issues would remain to be sorted out.

For instance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is insisting that a liability shield against potential lawsuits brought against businesses, schools and universities that reopen during the pandemic be part of the legislation. 

Pelosi opposes the idea and didn’t include it in Monday’s legislation.

Democrats say the purpose of the new draft legislation is to show good faith and spark a more meaningful round of talks. But it also comes after party moderates and ‘front line’ lawmakers in swing districts protested that Democratic leaders were being too inflexible.

Pelosi’s office has said she’s considering putting the new measure up for a floor vote if talks this week with the Trump administration prove fruitless. 

Talks have stalled between the Republicans and Democrats following the $3 trillion HEROES Act, passed by the House in May. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Monday

Talks have stalled between the Republicans and Democrats following the $3 trillion HEROES Act, passed by the House in May. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Monday

Tthe two agreed to speak again Tuesday, according to her aide

Tthe two agreed to speak again Tuesday, according to her aide

Speaking MSNBC Pelosi said she had spoken to Mnuchin as recently as Sunday , adding: ‘I think we can find our common ground but he has to come back with much more money to get the job done.

‘So, I’m hopeful. I’m optimistic.’ 

In July Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s $1 trillion bill was dismissed by the Democrats as  ‘half-hearted, half-baked legislative proposal’.

Pelosi said: ‘Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill.’ 

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