- The Washington Times
Friday, October 23, 2020

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned that coronavirus stimulus talks are starting to stall Friday, with no apparent sign a deal will be reached this week.

During an interview on Bloomberg TV, Mr. Kudlow said “the ball’s not moving much right now,” despite a spike in optimism from lawmakers earlier this week.


“It’s very difficult,” he said. “The clock is ticking, as you know.”

Mr. Kudlow’s skepticism comes just a few days after the White House eyed a 48-hour window to nail down a deal by Friday — the last day negotiators said a deal had to be reached by in order to get it passed before Election Day.

Keeping up the optimistic message, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during an interview on MSNBC that there were still some differences to work out but noted, “We put pen to paper. We’re writing the bill.”

Although, that was the same status update for negotiations over the past few days.

There hasn’t been any readout on talks from Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, or Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin since Wednesday. The speaker told reporters that she was waiting to hear back from her committee chairs.

The outstanding issues raised by White House officials and Mrs. Pelosi are part of the same core problems that collapsed talks back in August.

Those include funding for state and local governments, policies on how that can be spent, liability protections, education funding and boosted unemployment benefits.

Mr. Kudlow said the Senate Republicans would back a “genuinely bipartisan deal” if some of their priorities were included.

Senate Republicans haven’t been shy about their skepticism for a deal, with many raising their concerns about the potential policy issues wrapped up in a massive price tag somewhere between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion.

Sen. Richard Shelby, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he hasn’t seen enough details about the potential package.

“I think we’re not going anywhere. A lot of talk, no action,” the Alabama Republican told reporters on Thursday. “I think, maybe the secretary, he’s wanting a deal. But the speaker’s looking down the road maybe till after the election.”

Republicans are united in blaming the delay on Mrs. Pelosi and her demands, while she is citing the Senate’s own hesitancy and President Trump’s unpredictability as reasons a deal could drag on.


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