October 31, 2020

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Pelosi Sets Deadline for White House on Coronavirus Relief

Nancy Pelosi put a deadline on negotiations that have stretched on for months, but didn’t say what would happen if the deadline wasn’t met.



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Caroline Brehman/Congressional Quarterly/Zuma Press

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) called on the White House to show it was serious about reaching a deal on another coronavirus relief package by moving within 48 hours to reach an agreement on the remaining disputes.

After speaking for over an hour with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Saturday night, Mrs. Pelosi put a 48-hour deadline on negotiations that have stretched on for months, but didn’t say what would happen if the deadline wasn’t met.

“There remains an array of additional differences as we go provision by provision that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner in the next 48 hours,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Mrs. Pelosi, said on Twitter Saturday night. “Decisions must be made by the White House in order to demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement that provides for Americans with the greatest needs during the pandemic.”

It wasn’t immediately clear Saturday night what would happen if policy disputes remained outstanding and a broad agreement wasn’t locked into place within two days.

Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin did make progress on provisions around a national plan for testing, but are still working on components of it, including a comprehensive strategy for contact tracing and addressing its disproportionate impact on minority communities, Mr. Hammill said.

Earlier Saturday night, a spokeswoman for Mr. Mnuchin said that he had spoken with Mrs. Pelosi and expected to talk to her again on Monday.

The White House’s latest $1.88 trillion proposal had narrowed the difference in overall spending with House Democrats, who passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill earlier this month. Still, the two sides have remained entrenched in disagreements over significant policy issues, including how much funding to provide state and local governments and whether to include legal protections for businesses and other entities operating during the pandemic.

Write to Kristina Peterson at kristina.peterson@wsj.com

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