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White House says chances slim on pandemic aid deal before election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Tuesday tamped down expectations for a major coronavirus relief package to be agreed upon by the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election, saying House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was seeking too much.

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the proposal from Pelosi’s Democrats included stimulus checks for immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

“The chances are slim when you have someone like Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, when you look at the proposal they put forward and it still stands today,” McEnany said on Fox Business Network.

“This is not serious if we’re providing stimulus relief for the American people, it should be just that, for American people, for U.S. citizens,” McEnany added. “So it’s on her.”

The HEROES Act passed by the House would allow taxpaying immigrants to receive emergency relief funds.

Earlier, White House spokeswoman Alyssah Farah had looked beyond the next Tuesday’s presidential and congressional elections, telling Fox News: “We’re confident that we can get something in the coming weeks.”

President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have been at odds with Democratic lawmakers over the need for an additional federal relief package for Americans hurt economically by the pandemic.

The House passed its latest plan in May, but Republicans, who lead the U.S. Senate, balked at its size.

Trump himself supports another major relief package but he and Pelosi have been unable to reach a deal.

The White House has said aid to state and local governments has been the main sticking point in the talks, while Democrats also cite the lack of a national coronavirus testing plan.

On Monday, Pelosi’s spokesman said she was hopeful an agreement could be reached before the elections.

The United States faces a resurgence of cases of the novel coronavirus, and 36 out of 50 U.S. states have seen an increase for at least two weeks in a row, according to the Reuters analysis. Deaths from the respiratory disease have also more than doubled in seven states.

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