Top-level negotiations between Congress and the White House teetered Sunday on a ballooning nearly $1.4 trillion economic rescue package, as President Trump called for a deal to steady a nation shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic, the AP reports. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin indicated an agreement was within reach, but congressional Democratic leaders raised concerns after a meeting at the Capitol. With a population on edge, societal norms rewritten, and financial markets shell-shocked, all sides were hoping for an agreement that would provide some relief against the pandemic's twin health and economic crises, now believed likely to stretch for several months. The Democratic leaders exiting the hour-long session at the otherwise empty Capitol said there was no deal yet.
"We're continuing to talk," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would be putting forward their own draft bill. That was a break from the optimism voiced by Mnuchin just hours earlier. "I think we have a fundamental understanding and we look forward to wrapping it up today. It will get done," he said on Fox News Sunday, saying the plan was meant to prop up the nation's weakened economy for the next 10 to 12 weeks. The top four leaders of Congress were set to meet with Mnuchin just hours before a procedural vote in the Senate to advance the massive stimulus bill. The urgency to act is mounting, as jobless claims skyrocket, businesses shutter, and teetering financial markets are set to re-open Monday.
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