WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said late Monday that they were nearing a deal on a roughly $2 trillion stimulus package to help American workers and businesses survive the coronavirus outbreak.
“I think we’ve made a lot of progress,” Mnuchin told reporters on Capitol Hill just before midnight after emerging from negotiations. “There’s still a couple of open issues, but I think we’re very hopeful that this can be closed out (Tuesday).”
Mnuchin said that he and Schumer had consulted with both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Monday about the progress made on the legislation. Though no deal was reached, staff was expected to continue drafting the massive package overnight.
“We expect to have an agreement tomorrow morning,” Schumer told reporters. “There’s still a few little differences. Neither of us think they’re in any way going to get in the way of a final agreement.”
The two main issues that Democrats wanted — protecting workers and a “Marshall Plan” for hospitals — are “very strongly in the bill,” said Schumer, who declined to go into detail.
Mnuchin called the president, Schumer said, and told him “we were very, very close to the agreement [and] he seemed very happy with that.” He also added that Trump seemed “very positive” about the status of the talks.
Schumer said that he hopes they can complete the agreement Tuesday and vote on it by the evening.
Meanwhile, around the time that both Mnuchin and Schumer spoke, Trump criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democrats’ demands. He likely was referring to legislation Pelosi unveiled Monday that is separate from the developing package in the Senate.
He tweeted around 11:30 p.m. ET, “Republicans had a deal until Nancy Pelosi rode into town from her extended vacation. The Democrats want the Virus to win? They are asking for things that have nothing to do with our great workers or companies. They want Open Borders & Green New Deal. Republicans shouldn’t agree!”
Trump also tweeted a link to a National Review story about last-minute demands by Democrats and the president said, “This will never be approved by me, or any other Republican!”
It’s unclear whether Pelosi supports the agreement coming together in the Senate. Schumer said that he talks to her “all the time” but when asked if the speaker is on board, he said, “I’m telling you what I said and that’s it.”
At an afternoon press conference Monday, Pelosi unveiled her own version of a stimulus package that would cost more than $2.5 trillion that she said would require any corporation that takes taxpayer dollars to protect their worker’’ wages and benefits. She said it would also strengthen unemployment insurance “so that it can replace the average wages of our workers who are losing their jobs and hours.”