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Nancy Pelosi walks back Tuesday deadline for a stimulus deal with the White House

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  • Nancy Pelosi appeared to walk back a stimulus deadline she set to broker a deal with the White House.
  • “It isn’t that this day is the day we would have a deal,” she said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “It’s a day when we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step.”
  • Negotiations are ongoing, but many Senate Republicans are reluctant to support a multitrillion-dollar stimulus agreement that’s taking shape between the White House and Democrats.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that the deadline she set to negotiate a pre-election stimulus deal wasn’t, in fact, a deadline at all.

During a Bloomberg TV interview, the California Democrat cited ongoing progress in discussions with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the main negotiator for the White House. Pelosi said she was “optimistic,” but appeared to walk back a 48-hour deadline she set on Sunday to broker an agreement.

“It isn’t that this day is the day we would have a deal,” she said. “It’s a day when we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step. Legislation takes a long time.”

She added that specific legislative language would need to be agreed upon soon if lawmakers are to vote on a relief bill by the end of next week. Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Why Republicans think it’s OK to punt on the stimulus before the election

Her remarks come as President Donald Trump has stepped up his calls for a large government rescue package over the past week. On Tuesday, he said in a Fox News interview he could support an economic aid plan larger than the $2.2 trillion that Democrats are pressing for.

Still, Republicans are chilly on the prospects of Congress approving another roughly $2 trillion stimulus package with two weeks left until Election Day. The latest indication on Tuesday came from Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“You never know what’s going to happen around here at the last minute but it’s getting to be toward the last minute and the clock keeps ticking away,” Shelby told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I’m not optimistic about doing anything.”

Read more: A $2.5 billion investment chief highlights the stock-market sectors poised to benefit the most if stimulus is passed after the election — and says Trump ending negotiations doesn’t threaten the economic recovery

Democrats and the Trump administration would still have to bridge significant differences on major issues like federal unemployment benefits, testing, and aid to states. There are also considerable gaps on spending with the White House seeking around $1.8 trillion in relief, $400 billion less than Democrats. 

The Republican-held Senate is preparing a set of standalone bills to vote on this week that Democrats are very likely to reject as inadequate. Senators are set to vote on Tuesday on renewing the Paycheck Protection Program to aid small businesses, then on a $500 billion economic aid bill on Wednesday.

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