Pelosi, Trump strike deal on coronavirus response package

By Sylvan Lane

Pelosi, Trump strike deal on coronavirus response package: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday she had a deal with President Trump on a multibillion-dollar stimulus package aimed at assisting millions of Americans directly hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.

  • The agreement purportedly struck Friday aims to ease some of the economic stress by providing financial assistance to those most directly affected by the crisis, including unemployment and paid leave benefits.
  • On a broader level, the deal aims to calm some of the public trepidation and market turmoil of recent weeks by demonstrating that Washington policymakers can put aside partisan differences and unite quickly behind an emergency response befitting — at least in rhetoric — the severity of the crisis.

The Hill’s Scott Wong and Mike Lillis break it down here.

Questions remain: Soon after Pelosi’s announcement, questions about the viability of the deal emerged when Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs said an interview planned with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at 7 p.m. would be postponed while the secretary spoke with Trump, who purportedly said there wasn’t actually a deal.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) then told reporters at the Capitol that the White House felt the text of the deal did not line up with what Pelosi and Mnuchin agreed to.

Soon after, Mnuchin appeared on Dobbs’s show to announce “We have an agreement that reflects what the president talked about in his speech the other night.”

The uncertain road to a deal: The deal arrived after days of roller-coaster negotiations that put the outcome in doubt as the nation’s leaders raced to ease public anxiety and stabilize volatile markets.

  • Just hours before the deal was announced, Trump suggested in a Rose Garden address that he wasn’t on board, raising doubts that the two sides could come together.
  • Pelosi had been engaged in intense negotiations throughout the week with Mnuchin, Trump’s point person on the second round of emergency coronavirus relief. On Thursday, the two spoke at least four times by phone as they neared an agreement, aides said.
  • To get there, they had to iron out a small handful of delicate wrinkles that threatened to sink the entire package.

 

What’s inside the deal: The deadly pandemic has roiled the stock market, upended small businesses and large industries alike, and canceled major sporting and political events around the country. Millions of Americans could lose income — or their jobs entirely — due to mass public closures, work-from-home orders and the economic downturn sure to follow.

Here’s how Pelosi described the deal to Democratic colleagues in a Friday letter:

“For families’ economic security: we secured paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. We have also secured enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.

“For families’ food security: we strengthened nutrition security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition and food banks. 22 million children rely on free or reduced-price school meals for their food security; we must ensure that they have food to eat.

“For families’ health security: we increased federal funds for Medicaid to support our local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems, so that they have the resources necessary to combat this crisis. ”

What comes next: The House will likely pass the deal Friday night to tee up a Senate vote on the measure Monday morning. Of course, three days is a long time in Trump’s Washington, and you can never be certain of a breakthrough until Trump puts his name on the bill.

Read more: 10 things to know today about the coronavirus.

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