Pelosi said Democrats and Trump administration don't agree on language used in stalled coronavirus relief package

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said that Democrats in Congress and members of the Trump administration have been unable to reach a final agreement regarding a future COVID-19 relief package.
  • While Pelosi said she was "optimistic" and the two parties have made progress, she said there have been specific disagreements over the language used in the bill.  
  • Pelosi said that members of the president's administration were not "legislators" and had removed about 55% of the language related to testing and contact tracing.
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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said she and members of President Donald Trump's administration have not yet been able to come to an agreement on the language used in an upcoming COVID-19 stimulus package, continuing the monthslong delay.

During an interview on ABC "This Week" on Sunday, Pelosi told moderator George Stephanopoulos that disagreements stem from issues related to the language used in the portion of the legislation that addresses testing and contact tracing. 

"We're seeking clarity," Pelosi said Sunday. "Because actually, with all due respect to some of the people in the president's administration, they're not legislators. So when they said 'we are accepting the language on testing,' for example. 'We're just making a light touch,' they said. They changed 'shall' to 'may,' 'requirements' to 'recommendations,' 'a plan' to 'a strategy.'" 

Pelosi said the Trump administration had removed 55% of the language originally used in portions about testing and contact tracing. 

"The tracing part is so important because communities of color have been disproportionately affected by this," Pelosi added. "On this subject where we have an agreement, we don't have an agreement in the language yet, but I'm hopeful." 

 

As Business Insider previously reported, Pelosi's office on Saturday evening had signaled progress on stimulus talks, which have been monthslong and oftentimes contentious. At the beginning of the month, House Democrats passed $2.2 trillion stimulus legislation, but Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called it "outlandish" and signaled further disagreements on coming to a deal.

"While there was some encouraging news on testing, there remains work to do to ensure there is a comprehensive testing plan that includes contact tracing and additional measures to address the virus' disproportionate impact on communities of color," Drew Hammill, the deputy chief of staff at the speaker's office, said in a tweet.

In a follow-up tweet Saturday, Hammill said that existing disagreements "must be addressed in a comprehensive manner in the next 48 hours."

Pelosi on Saturday said she had been concerned about the changes made by the Trump administration officials to the language about how to address testing and training within minority communities, adding that it had been altered to allow states to come up with their own plans.

"We had pages and pages of how you would do this in the minority community," she said. "They crossed it all out.

"We have to have a national plan," she added. "You can't leave it up to the states to decide how they're going to address the minority community." 

Pelosi told Stephanopoulos the 48-hour deadline only applied to get a deal passed before the election.

"But we're saying we have to freeze the design on some of these things," the speaker said. "Are we going with it or not? And what is the language? I'm optimistic because, again, we've been back and forth on all of this."

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