Democrats and Republicans appeared optimistic after the conclusion of personal talks on Tuesday between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Party Leader Kevin McCarthy.
McConnell told reporters that there had been “significant progress” and said, “I am optimistic that we will be able to complete the understanding soon.”
McCarthy also showed similar confidence, saying, “I think things are really going well.”
Schumer said he was “getting close” when CNN asked him if he agreed with the assessment from top Republicans that a deal was close.
Schumer said, “We are exchanging papers back and forth and we hope that we can reach an agreement soon,” adding, “I think there is a real desire to reach any agreement by the four parties.”
The talks between Hill’s leaders took place on Tuesday after the official unveiling earlier this week of the legislative text for a potential Covid stimulus plan put forward by a bipartisan alliance aimed at finding common ground between a deeply divided Congress.
Instead of rolling out a single legislative package, the bipartisan coalition split their proposal into two bills, one addressing the thorny issues of state and domestic aid and liability protection, while the other focused on provisions that were expected to garner broad bipartisan support.
The bipartisan coalition’s unanimous bill that avoids this issue as well as liability protection could serve as a ready-made starting point for what can be agreed more broadly on Covid relief.