Stimulus negotiation latest: Pelosi call casts doubt on a deal

The California Democrat specifically cited differences over tax provisions as the reason for her current views, but made clear the broader negotiations don’t appear anywhere near a positive resolution, the people said.

Pelosi and Mnuchin will speak by phone on Thursday afternoon, according to a source familiar, marking the latest discussion between the top stimulus negotiators.

Pelosi’s framing on the private call earlier Thursday tracks with the criticism she’s leveled at Republicans during stimulus negotiations for months — that the Trump administration simply isn’t willing to do what’s necessary on the fiscal side of things to address the depth of the economic problems created by the pandemic.

Republicans say it is now up to Pelosi to counter the roughly $1.6 trillion proposal Mnuchin put on the table Wednesday, which is hundreds of billions of dollars away from the roughly $2.2 trillion plan House Democrats could vote on as soon as later Thursday.

Pelosi said during her weekly news conference that she is “hopeful that we can reach agreement” on a bipartisan deal, but nevertheless made clear that the two sides are not on the same page on key issues.

“We’re kind of in the ballpark on some things,” Pelosi said, but added, “still way off in terms of state and local government.” She also said that Democrats “have concerns about a sufficient amount of money to address the unemployment insurance needs of the American people.”

Pelosi also indicated that the House is likely to move forward later Thursday with a vote on the Democratic proposal, which is not expected to be taken up by the GOP-held Senate.

“I’m hoping that we will be voting on it today,” Pelosi said of the legislation.

Both the White House and House Democratic leaders are struggling with internal party divisions over how to move forward in the stimulus talks.

For months, moderate Democrats in the House have been pushing their leadership to go back to the table and get a deal with the White House on stimulus rather than forging ahead with another Democratic-only package. Multiple sources familiar tell CNN that as it stands now roughly a dozen House Democrats could vote against the revised Democratic HEROES act if it is put on the floor later Thursday.

Fourteen Democratic members voted against the original HEROES Act back in the spring, arguing it was not a plan that was going to be signed by the President. House leaders are confident they’ll still have the votes, but the tension underscores why Democratic leaders wanted to give talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin one more day to materialize.

Those talks are still a long way away from leading to a deal.

On the Senate side, GOP lawmakers are growing uncomfortable with reports that Mnuchin is stretching beyond $1.5 trillion in his offer to Pelosi. Multiple GOP senators told CNN that number could be a major issue, forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to eventually choose if he is willing to put a bill on the floor that loses a large number of his members.

“Anything above $1 trillion would be difficult,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and an Iowa Republican. “There’s a real revulsion among Republicans to going above $1 trillion and even $1 trillion is real difficult.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

CNN’s Haley Byrd contributed to this report.

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