Mnuchin coronavirus stimulus talks stalled as White House seeks to pressure Pelosi

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on coronavirus relief, the committee said in a statement on Monday.

The White House and congressional Democrats remained far apart on a coronavirus stimulus package Monday as another week loomed with little hope of a deal anytime soon.

In an interview on CNBC, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sought to pile pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the stalled talks, noting that he is ready to meet without preconditions.

“I think there is a compromise if the speaker is willing to move forward. I am somewhat concerned that she’s afraid that any deal will be good for the president and obviously, we have politics that are getting in the way,” said Mnuchin.

In a sign of how elusive any deal would be, the leaders are focusing more on separate negotiations to avoid a government shutdown before Election Day.

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While the White House negotiation team and Pelosi have expressed optimism on passing legislation to prevent a government shutdown at the end of September, there is very little hope for an economic relief package.

On the more critical stimulus talks, Pelosi (D-Calif.) hit back with a preemptive strike of her own, noting that any package should include help for hard-pressed renters.

“Any Republican scheme that has nothing for rent assistance is relief in name only,” Pelosi wrote in a tweet.

The two sides have only dug their heels in deeper since the stimulus talks collapsed in partisan acrimony last month.

Democrats passed a sprawling plan valued at $3.4 trillion months ago. Republicans countered with a puny $500 billion package that faltered in the Senate last week.

With the presidential election campaign now in full swing, most insiders believe it is less likely than ever that Republicans or Democrats will make the tough compromises needed to bridge the wide gap.

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