Pelosi 'hopeful' as she and Mnuchin speak on coronavirus aid, plan further talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday she hoped to have a coronavirus aid deal with the White House this week, after speaking with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for about 50 minutes and making plans for further talks on Wednesday.

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“I’m hopeful,” Pelosi told reporters who asked whether agreement on additional coronavirus relief could be reached this week. Her discussion with Mnuchin on Tuesday was their third conversation in as many days.

“The two went over the provisions of the updated Heroes Act and agreed to speak again tomorrow,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said on Twitter, referring to a $2.2 trillion measure unveiled on Monday by House Democrats.

Pelosi has taken the lead for Democrats in trying to reach a compromise with the Trump administration on a further coronavirus relief bill.

Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer had been pressing for a $3.4 trillion relief package, but scaled back their demands by over a trillion dollars.

In an interview with CNBC, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow made clear that the White House still views the $2.2 trillion figure as too high.

“There are things, I think, that both sides agree with but then the other team wants a gigantic package and we don’t think we need that,” he said.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has previously said that President Donald Trump would be willing to sign a $1.3 trillion measure. Meadows on Tuesday said he was in touch with Mnuchin and Trump on the matter.

“Hopefully we’ll make some progress and find a solution for the American people,” Meadows told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Pelosi on Monday urged the Trump administration to raise its offer. “He has to come back with much more money to get the job done,” she said of Mnuchin in an interview with MSNBC.

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