US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both expressed hope for a breakthrough on Covid-19 relief on Wednesday, as the House stood poised to vote on a new $2.2 trillion Democratic coronavirus bill.
With pressure mounting ahead of the Nov. 3 election, Mnuchin said he thought that he and Pelosi could "reach a reasonable compromise" and would know in the next day or two whether they had an "overall understanding."
"We're both making a good faith effort to try to get this done. And I think we want to figure out whether we can get it done, and if not, move on," the Treasury secretary told a CNBC investor conference.
In an interview with MSNBC, Pelosi said: "I'm hopeful. We'll just see what they come back with today and how our negotiations go next."
She and Mnuchin spoke for about 50 minutes on Tuesday. It was not clear when the two would speak on Wednesday.
House Democrats discussed Covid-19 relief in a 90-minute conference call on Wednesday morning, as the House Rules Committee debated an updated Heroes Act coronavirus relief package unveiled on Monday.
House Democratic Conference Chairman Hakeem Jeffries told reporters that a vote on the legislation was expected later on Wednesday but would not reflect on the success of the talks.
"That is our current expectation," said Jeffries, adding that the bill would show the Democratic caucus' "vision on what's right legislatively at this moment."
Jeffries said Pelosi and Mnuchin would be much closer than ever, if the Treasury secretary based his offer on a bipartisan "Problem Solvers" bill with up to $2 trillion in spending.
Formal talks between Pelosi, Mnuchin, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows broke down on Aug. 7. Pelosi has since taken the lead for Democrats.
Before talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin resumed, the White House had said Trump could agree to a $1.3 trillion bill.