An erratic Trump may have shaken loose stimulus talks. Now all parties must advance with urgency.

An erratic Trump may have shaken loose stimulus talks. Now all parties must advance with urgency.

The parties reported some progress on one key issue, coronavirus testing and contact tracing, with Mr. Mnuchin moving toward Ms. Pelosi’s position that the federal government, not the states, should take the lead on administering a $75 billion program — though Ms. Pelosi said on Sunday that amendments later proposed by Mr. Mnuchin largely neutered the concession. The total size of the Trump administration proposal is nearly $1.9 trillion, approaching Ms. Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion. Perhaps it is dawning on the president that helping the economy before the election is in his political interest. The speaker, meanwhile, is coming under some useful pressure from those of her own House members who also see the political upside of taking a deal. But on Sunday she set a 48-hour deadline for agreement on a bill that could pass before the election, while suggesting the gaps between the two sides remain wide. Even if Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin come to terms, the Senate would still have to go along. And for now, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), deferring to the misguided concerns about spending and deficits of some GOP senators, says no. Instead, he plans a floor vote on a much smaller $500 billion “targeted” package that would, among other things, aid small businesses and airlines but omit both the direct payments to households and state and local aid that a Pelosi-Mnuchin bill would include. Perhaps Mr. McConnell is playing bad cop — trying to pressure Ms. Pelosi into striking a deal on terms more favorable ...
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