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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has given the White House a 48-hour deadline to reconcile differences in stimulus negotiations "to demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement," a top Pelosi aide tweeted Saturday night.

Driving the news: Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that the 48-hour deadline only applies to being able to get a deal done before the election. She said she is "optimistic" about the talks, but that a true breakthrough "depends on the administration."

The state of play: Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for over an hour Saturday night, and the discussions yielded "some encouraging news on testing," Pelosi's deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said. But the pair still had differences on a plan for testing and contact tracing and "measures to address the virus’ disproportionate impact on communities of color."

  • Hammill had tweeted on Thursday that Mnuchin had agreed to accept the Democrats' language on a national testing plan with "minor" edits after an hourlong discussion.
  • President Trump has been eager for a pre-election stimulus boost to the economy and has encouraged Mnuchin to go further than his current $1.8 trillion proposal — even though it has virtually no chance of passing the Senate.

What they're saying: "The Speaker and Secretary Mnuchin spoke at 7:40 p.m. by phone tonight for just over an hour. While there was some encouraging news on testing, there remains work to do to ensure there is a comprehensive testing plan that includes contact tracing and additional measures to address the virus’ disproportionate impact on communities of color," Hammill wrote in a series of tweets.

  • "There remains an array of additional differences as we go provision by provision that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner in the next 48 hours."
  • "Decisions must be made by the White House in order to demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement that provides for Americans with the greatest needs during the pandemic."

The other side: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he would not put a potential $1.8 trillion+ deal struck by Democrats and the Trump administration on the Senate floor. Instead, the Senate will vote next week on a Paycheck Protection Program extension and a targeted $500 billion relief package.

What to watch: Pelosi and Mnuchin are set to continue talks on Monday, per the Wall Street Journal.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."

Biden challenges GOP agenda: "What are Republicans for?"

President Biden pushed back against Republican efforts to obstruct his agenda during a press conference Wednesday, asking "What are Republicans for?"

Why it matters: Biden's speech comes as he approaches one year in office, facing low polling numbers and a stalled agenda.