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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Pelosi on Covid-19 relief bill: ‘We’re seeking clarity’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday morning that she and Trump administration officials are “seeking clarity” on the wording in the next coronavirus relief package — the latest development in talks that have been ongoing for months.

Pelosi told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that the two parties have yet to agree on language regarding testing and contract tracing. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke on the topic Saturday night.

“We’re seeking clarity, because … with all due respect to some of the people in the president's administration — they're not legislators,” she said.

She noted, for example, that some adjustments made by the administration on wording surrounding testing were actually pretty significant.

“They changed ‘shall’ to ‘may,’ ‘requirements’ to ‘recommendations,’ a ‘plan’ to a ‘strategy,’ not a strategic plan. They took out 55 percent of the language that we had there for testing and tracing,” Pelosi said.

The speaker said she is “hopeful,” and noted that they are still looking to get the aid through before Nov. 3, but that it “depends on the administration.”

But Mnuchin was less optimistic, saying earlier this week at a Milken Institute Global Conference that “getting something done before the election and executing on that will be difficult.”

Even if a deal on coronavirus relief between Pelosi and the White House is reached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would need to bring it to the Senate floor and get Senate Republicans on board with the package.

McConnell has set up Senate votes next week on a coronavirus relief proposal that is nearly identical to the plan Republicans advocated in September.

“Speaker Pelosi keeps saying she feels ‘nothing’ is better than ‘something’ and clinging to far-left demands that are designed to kill any hope of a deal,” McConnell said Saturday. “Working families have spent months waiting for Speaker Pelosi’s Marie Antoinette act to stop. They should not have to wait any longer.”

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