Capitol Report: Pelosi says there is ‘momentum’ for deal on COVID aid

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that talks on a COVID-19 relief package have “momentum,” and that the weaker-than-expected November jobs report gives more reason for Congress to act.

Pelosi addressed reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference a day after she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke about COVID relief and government funding.

With coronavirus cases rising and funding for most federal agencies set to expire on Dec. 11, lawmakers are working to craft a compromise on new aid. The November jobs report is also prompting calls for more stimulus.  

Read: The 245,000 new jobs added last month is smallest since U.S. recovery began in May.

Earlier this week, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said a roughly $900 billion aid package should be a basis for negotiations. Democrats prior to the election insisted on a more than $2 trillion package, a size McConnell rejected. The Kentucky Republican has proposed a smaller package.

Sticking points between Democrats and Republicans include the size of aid to states and liability protections for businesses and others. McConnell has pushed those protections but some Democrats want to limit them.

It’s possible that lawmakers could punt the Dec. 11 deadline by a week, giving themselves more time to hammer out deals, said Chris Krueger of Cowen Washington Research Group in a note on Friday.

U.S. stocks were higher Friday, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.56% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.70% setting intraday records.

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