Key House Democrat says the 'window is closing' on stimulus deal ahead of Pelosi deadline

CNN/ Newswire | 10/20/2020, 9:17 a.m.

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN) -- House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Tuesday that the "window is closing" on a potential deal for a stimulus package, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's deadline arrives for Democrats and the Trump administration to resolve policy differences if they want to pass a bill before Election Day.

"I think there's still an outside chance something will get done before the elections. But the window is closing," the South Carolina Democrat told CNN's John Berman on "New Day."

Pelosi said Sunday that she and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin must reached an agreement by end of the day Tuesday, the last feasible date to get a bill passed through both chambers of Congress by November 3. The two sides have been divided for months on the topline figure as well as what should be in the bill.

Pelosi's deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill tweeted Monday afternoon that Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke for nearly an hour where "they continued to narrow their differences." Hammill said Pelosi and Mnuchin would continue speaking Tuesday and that "The Speaker has tasked committee chairs to reconcile differences with their GOP counterparts on key areas."

Clyburn, who is the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the chamber, accused Republicans of not being willing to compromise with Democrats and argued that Pelosi "is trying to stand up for people who are being left out of this deal."

"We are going to do what's fair. That's what we want to see done. And we are not just going to take anything simply because it'll be something," he said.

Asked when Americans could expect relief amid the coronavirus pandemic if a deal isn't reached now, Clyburn replied, "When we change this administration."

After calling off talks while he was recovering from coronavirus earlier this month, President Donald Trump abruptly reversed course and pushed lawmakers to pass a massive new spending package.

During an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Trump repeated that he wants a "bigger" stimulus package than even Democrats are proposing — despite Senate Republicans saying they doubt Pelosi and Mnuchin can reach a deal that they'd support.

Trump claimed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will "be on board if something comes," despite no indication from the Republican leaders that he would be supportive. Earlier this month, Republican senators blasted a $1.8 trillion offer made by the Trump administration to the Democrats as too big, an offer Pelosi dismissed as "insufficient."

McConnell plans to hold a vote Tuesday on a stand-alone Paycheck Protection Program bill to help small businesses and put a roughly $500 billion proposal on the Senate floor on Wednesday, similar to a proposal Democrats rejected this summer.