WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The U.S. House of Representatives has narrowly approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed a bipartisan deal hasn’t been reached with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as of Thursday evening.
The bill will move next to the U.S. Senate, where the Republican majority will likely vote against it as written. Negotiations between Pelosi and Mnuchin could continue next week.
Republicans said the Democrats’ plan still costs too much, although Democrats have reduced the price tag by over a trillion dollars since May. The House vote was 214-207.
18 Democrats voted against the bill.
As lawmakers prepared to leave Washington for the remaining weeks of the 2020 presidential and congressional campaign, Pelosi and Mnuchin failed to reach an agreement spanning aid to state and local governments, Democratic demands for a child tax credit, stronger worker safety, health care and small businesses.
“I never say this is the last chance until Election Day,” Pelosi said. “Although that’s 33 days away. I just think at some point, they’ll have to know that the American people have these needs. Some of you have asked, ‘is something better than nothing?’ No. It can be an opportunity cost.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pointed to Thursday’s jobless report, criticizing Pelosi’s decision to move forward with the vote.
“More Americans are filing for unemployment and small businesses are closing. She’s wasting America’s time on yet another multi-trillion dollar special interest bailout,” he said.
Pelosi and Mnuchin remained far from agreement on COVID-19 relief in several key areas earlier on Thursday, after a phone discussion failed to bridge what Pelosi described as differences over dollars and values.
Congressional Democrats led by Pelosi had proposed the $2.2 trillion package to respond to a pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work. Republican President Donald Trump’s negotiating team has suggested a $1.6 trillion response, and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday the speaker was “not being serious” in the negotiations.
“The two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language, but distance on key areas remain. Their conversation will continue this afternoon,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, wrote in a statement on Twitter.
A bipartisan deal has been long delayed by disagreements over Democratic demands for aid to state and local governments and Republican insistence for a provision protecting businesses and schools from coronavirus-related lawsuits.
Republican Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) told CNBC on Thursday that a deal worth over $1.6 trillion could be rejected by one-third to one-half of Senate Republicans. That would still allow a bill to pass with support from Democrats.
NewsNation’s Washington DC correspondent Joe Khalil will have continuing coverage on NewsNation happening now on WGN America. Here’s how to watch the NewsNation television broadcast.
We want to hear from you: What kind of help, if any, are you hoping the government can provide to your family and friends during this stage of the pandemic?
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The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.