The U.S. Capitol Rotunda The U.S. Capitol Rotunda (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi)

As stimulus talks continued over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that she’s “optimistic” that Democrats and the Trump administration can reach an agreement before the election, and set a Tuesday deadline.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said over the weekend that the Senate would vote Tuesday on a standalone bill providing additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program and Wednesday on $500 billion in relief for “targeted relief programs that Democrats do not even claim to oppose.”

The bill, according to McConnell, would fund:

  • More federally expanded unemployment benefits for laid-off Americans;
  • A second round of the Paycheck Protection Program;
  • More than $100 billion for schools;
  • More testing and tracing;
  • More funding for Operation Warp Speed to produce a vaccine; and
  • More funding to distribute that vaccine across the country.

“Nobody thinks this $500B+ proposal would resolve every problem forever,” McConnell said. “It would deliver huge amounts of additional help to workers and families right now while Washington keeps arguing over the rest.”

On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Pelosi said that a deal would need to be struck by Tuesday. “The 48 [hour deadline] only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do,” Pelosi said in the interview. “But we’re saying to them we have to freeze the design on some of these things. Are we going with it or not? And what is the language?”

Pelosi said in a separate letter to colleagues that Democrats “are writing language as we negotiate the priorities, so that we are fully prepared to move forward once we reach agreement.”

Meanwhile, a 19-page report released Friday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found that contrary to Congress’ clear intent, the Trump administration and many big banks failed to prioritize small businesses in underserved markets, including businesses owned by minorities and women.

“Small businesses that were truly in need of financial support during the economic crisis often faced longer waits and more obstacles to receiving PPP funding than larger, wealthier companies,” the report states.

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