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On Thursday, all eyes were on Pelosi, the ‘queen’ of CARES Act 2.0 daily soap-opera as the ‘do or die’ Tuesday deadline was extended till the weekend. Pelosi said:
We must agree to crush the virus, to put money in the pockets of the American people So we, again, to protect the lives, the livelihood and the life of our democracy, we continue to be engaged in negotiations, and I am hopeful that we will be able to reach an agreement. We've made good progress this week on the subject of crushing the virus.
In the subsequent Q&A session, Pelosi was asked about the overall prospect of CARES Act 2.0 before the election as there are not many days in hand to prepare & pass the bill and the Senate is also unwilling to pass a larger bill above $500B before the election. Pelosi was also asked whether the daily talks with the White House are symbolic ahead of the election. Pelosi said that’s not the case and the main difference is how the stimulus money will be spent on child education, but the difference is narrowing as neither sides can’t afford for no CARES Act 2.0.
Garrett, let me just say this. If these talks – these talks did not have a purpose and if we were not making progress, I wouldn't spend five seconds in these conversations. And I say that in friendship to the Secretary. ‘Why would I even be talking to you?’ And he says the same thing to me. ‘Why would I even be talking to you?’ So, this is not anything other than, I think, a serious attempt. I do believe that both sides want to reach an agreement.
I can't answer for the disarray on the Senate side. One day, the leader says, ‘I don't want to do it before the election. Put it together. We'll do it after.’ Another day, he'll say, ‘Send it over, and I'll put it on the Floor sometime.’ Another day, he says other things. It's not up to me to psych out Mitch McConnell. It's about the President of the United States engaging in a discussion, that it's up to him to deliver what can happen on the Senate side.
But, again, as I've said to you before, we're not going to make the world straight in this bill, but we are going to crush the – finally, finally take a step to crush the virus and do other things. And we can't pass a bill that makes matters worse, which is what everything – every time they do something, they have something in there that – one step forward, two steps back. No, we want to keep going in a forward direction. I mean, I'm used to negotiations, and when you get to the end is the hardest part. But we've sent more paper over.
I told you one of the big issues in education. We have a different view of how the money should be spent on education, again, grounded in what we are told by the Association of Superintendents of Schools, other associations which have no political past; they're just objective measures of what is needed. And we could do something great. And I'm still optimistic that we can do that. We'll have to compromise. We can't swallow – neither side can swallow poison pills. And we're narrowing those differences.
Pelosi was also asked about the feasibility of CARES Act 2.0 before or after the election, even if there is a deal in the next 72-hours. Pelosi said there is a good chance. Pelosi was also asked whether she reaches an agreement over state and local government funding, liability-Pelosi said: No, we haven't.
Pelosi also ducked the question of various corruption allegations involving China, Russia, and Ukraine. On opposition about some Senate Republicans for any big CARES Act 2.0 bill, Pelosi said it’s Trump’s headache, but as Trump now wants a bigger bill, there is an opportunity.
On Trump’s CARES Act 2.0 flip-flops, Pelosi said: It's called ‘disarray’ – Mitch McConnell, the President.
Finally, Pelosi was asked whether she is ready to pass the CARES Act 2.0 before the election even if she does not get the state & local funding support. Pelosi clarified if her other colleagues, who wrote the original HEROES Act (Caucus and Chairs) agree to the best possible bill under the present circumstances, she has no objection. But Pelosi also effectively pointed out there is little hope of CARES Act 2.0 before the election, but at the same time, also assured that a bigger, better and safer CARES Act 2.0 is on the way, which will be also retrospective. Pelosi most probably hinted that CARES Act 2.0 may be a bigger bill of $3.4T (original HEROES Act with longer duration) under Biden 1.0 (?).
Well, we're not going to agree to a bill that is not acceptable to my Caucus and to my chairs, who have effectively written the Heroes Act. I think we're talking about the same thing. It's only about time. Now, somebody may make a decision on their side that they don't want it before the election. I think it is in range for us to pass it before the election. But it's not up to me to decide what the Senate does. That's a conversation between the President and the Majority Leader.
But we wouldn't take less of a bill to get it sooner. We want the best bill in range. And, again, as I've said – and I'll end with this. What I say is, help is on the way. It will be bigger, it will be better, it will be safer and it will be retroactive.
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