Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that Congress is unlikely to enact economic relief legislation before the November 3rd election because Nancy Pelosi-led Democrats do not want to deliver anything that President Donald Trump could portray to voters as a win.
Mnuchin said that he continues to talk with House Leader Pelosi but Democrat political resistance to striking a deal prior to the election is “definitely an issue.”
Speaking at a Milken Institute conference on Wednesday, Mnuchin said that the two sides “continue to make progress on certain issues but on certain issues we continue to be far apart.”
Mnuchin said he spoke with Pelosi for an hour and Wednesday and the two are set to speak again tomorrow. But there is little chance that a deal will be struck in the next three weeks.
“At this point, getting something done before the election and executing on that will be difficult,” Mr. Mnuchin said.
Pelosi has shown little interest in passing a deal in recent weeks and instead has dug in with Democrat demands for a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan. On Wednesday she sent a letter to fellow Democrat lawmakers spelling out a long list of demands that she said she would continue to insist upon.
House Democrats could pass a stimulus bill now that would likely garner enough support in the U.S. Senate if they agreed to the $1.8 trillion plan proposed by the Trump administration. They could then revisit the other items on their agenda after the election. But under Pelosi’s leadership, the party has chosen a path of maximum resistance and no compromise.
President Trump has signaled a willingness to spend even more than the Democrats want but Democrats refuse to drop objections to Republican proposals, including a vague complaint about small business aid being “inadequate” because it was issued on a “first come, first serve” basis. One of the House Democrat committee leaders quoted in the letter insist that they are justified in resisting passing economic relief because Trump hopes to score political points by alieviating the financial hardship on Americans.
“This approach is a transparent attempt to score political points in the coming weeks,” House Ways and Means Chair Richie Neal wrote.
Many observers, including Bloomberg News anchor Joe Weisenthal, have voiced skepticism about the idea that Democrats are interested in passing a bill.
The thing is, it may be that the Trump offer is filled with poison pills, and other bad-faith provisions that make it impossible for Pelosi to accept the $1.8 trillion.
But it's hard to see what the dealbreakers are based on Pelosi's own characterization of the bill's flaws. https://t.co/DDlCEcHg2B
— Joe Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) October 14, 2020
Mnuchin pointed out that Democrats are refusing the pass smaller bills on areas where Republicans and Democrats agree, insisting on a comprehensive bill that they do not plan to reach agreement on.
“Let’s not wait for the big bang and everything being perfect,” Mnuchin said.