WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expressed confidence Wednesday that Democrats and the White House are nearing a deal to provide another round of relief to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
"I’m pretty happy. I think we have a prospect for an agreement," Pelosi said in an interview on MSNBC’s "Andrea Mitchell Reports," adding that negotiations are "in a better place than we have been" in past weeks.
Pelosi said that she is expecting to speak with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, who has been the Trump administration's main representative in the talks with congressional leaders, at 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. She reiterated that the outstanding issues involve liability protections and how much money should be allocated to states and cities to help fund essential workers and schools, for example. She said they’re at the stage in the talks now where "it's just a question then of weighing the equities, is this worth that."
"My view is that there's no reason that America’s schools shouldn't be the safest place in America for our children to go to learn. It takes some money for more classes, more teachers, more ventilation, more technology and the rest," said Pelosi, who said that’s part of the discussion right now and how children going to school could help get people back to work.
The speaker acknowledged, however, that the final agreement may not happen until after Election Day, which is Nov. 3. She said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he doesn’t want to vote on a deal before the election, which Democrats are pushing for.
But she said that she’s “optimistic" and that "I want people to know help is on the way. It will be bigger, it will be better, it will be safer and it will be retroactive."
“There will be a bill,” she added. “It's a question of is it time to pay the November rent, which is my goal, or is it going to be shortly thereafter, and retroactive.”
Pelosi also said that the onus will be on President Donald Trump to persuade Senate Republicans to vote in favor of a bipartisan deal.
"It's up to the president to convince people in his own party but you have to also remember how hard that is because some of them really don't care to spend any more money to crush violence," she said.