Pelosi 'optimistic' on virus relief deal

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi believes a deal can be reached quickly over COVID-19 relief.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi believes a deal can be reached quickly over COVID-19 relief.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that differences remain with President Donald Trump's administration on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package but that she's optimistic legislation can be pushed through before U.S. election day.

Pelosi, the top elected Democrat, said she wanted a bill passed before the November 3 presidential election between Republican Trump and Democrat Joe Biden but acknowledged that an agreement would have to come within 48 hours for that to happen.

"I'm optimistic because, again, we've been back and forth on all of this," Pelosi said in an interview with ABC's "This Week."

However, with her negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, in the Middle East until Tuesday, a deal still appears to be a long shot.

The White House proposed a $1.8 trillion ($A2.5 trillion) stimulus last week to help Americans struggling with the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi said the offer fell short in a range of areas, including tax credits for poor people, aid to state and local governments, worker protections and rent help. She has stuck to her demand for a $2.2 trillion ($A3.1 trillion) aid and stimulus package.

The Republicans who control the Senate, however, are loath to pass another giant relief bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would vote next week on relief measures totaling more than $500 billion ($A706 billion) to target specific areas of need. Democrats have rejected so-called skinny bills with pared-down funding, saying much more is needed.

Australian Associated Press