Watch CNBC's full interview with House speaker Nancy Pelosi on coronavirus stimulus bill
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” by phone to discuss the bipartisan stimulus package to help counteract the economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Democrats and Republicans are closing in on a massive stimulus package to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told CNBC on Tuesday morning that there is “real optimism” Congress can clinch a pact within a few hours. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., later said the bill is at the “five-yard line.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrived at Capitol Hill just after 9 a.m. Tuesday for a new round of negotiations with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Just before 11:00 a.m., Mnuchin, Schumer and Rep. Mark Meadows, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, went into Schumer’s office as part of the negotiations, according to a Democratic aide.
After the meeting, Schumer said on the Senate floor that negotiators were on the “two-yard line.” Issues can be resolved within hours, he added.
He listed a number of changes he said Democrats have secured, including obtaining “unemployment insurance on steroids,” which includes four months of full salary for idled workers. He said the provision would also help businesses, by keeping employees on the payroll during the crisis, so they can reassemble once it subsides.
Schumer has said that the Democrats’ “two main issues: workers first and a ‘Marshall Plan’ for hospitals are very strongly in the bill.”
Democrats appear on track to secure $25 billion more for hospitals, staff and equipment, a Democratic aide told CNBC, cautioning that terms may still change.
Still, Schumer implied that negotiations continue around the $500 billion fund that Republicans have proposed to support distressed companies. Democrats have argued the fund gives the Treasury too much discretion.
“We’ve been fighting very hard that any bailout fund − money to industries that have trouble − have real oversight and transparency,” Schumer said.
“We’ve been pushing hard that any contract the federal government makes with the company to give it loans, that we know of that contract in a very short period of time so that we can examine it ” he said. “Because we all know there was a load of dissatisfaction with TARP,” he added.
Democrats are pushing for an inspector general and congressional oversight board to oversee the fund. CNBC earlier reported that Mnuchin had agreed to more fund oversight.
Pelosi said Tuesday she was “very happy” it appeared the Senate had taken some of her suggestions on fund oversight.
Schumer also said Democrats were making “very good progress” in their efforts to add “incentive or mandate” for companies receiving federal loans or grants to keep their employees.
According to NBC News, Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said the bill would include, among other items:
Immediate $2,400 checks for married couples and $500 per child
$350 billion for small businesses to set aside for payroll to keep people working
Major U.S. stock indexes climbed more than 5% on Tuesday as optimism about a deal rose.
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