White House and Democrats Near Deal on Aid for Small Businesses

Partisan warfare has enveloped the talks since the start, with Mr. Trump attacking Ms. Pelosi on Twitter on Sunday as “an inherently ‘dumb’ person” and predicting that she would be “overthrown” as speaker, “either by inside or out.”

Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill had spent much of last week trading barbs. Republicans, who argued that there was no need to add money for hospitals and testing when it had not yet run out, accused Democrats of holding small businesses hostage while unemployment numbers soared.

“I cannot understand after watching another five million get unemployed how Speaker Pelosi continues to say no,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority leader, said Thursday morning on a conference call with reporters.

Republicans have also expressed strong opposition to adding money for states and municipalities, saying Democrats have pushed for unrestricted funds, not related to the coronavirus, that would effectively subsidize bad fiscal decisions that occurred before the pandemic. That has been a red line for Republicans throughout the talks.

But after the funding for the Paycheck Protection Program lapsed, Republicans expressed the first hints of openness to accepting at least some of the Democrats’ demands. In an interview with Politico on Friday, Mr. McCarthy said he was “fine with doing some hospital” funding as part of a package to shore up the program.

Some Republicans, though, have expressed skepticism about Mr. Mnuchin, whom they see as accommodating to Democrats. Asked on Thursday about how a deal that included hospital money would be received, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, remained noncommittal, saying only, “We’d take a look at it.”

Mr. Mnuchin also said on Sunday that he was hopeful that the economy could rebound in a matter of months rather than years. He said that he hoped the extraordinary efforts the government had taken to encourage businesses to keep workers on their payrolls would prevent the jobless rate from reaching 20 percent.

Source Article