U.S. COVID-19 aid bill talks continue, Pelosi says

FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives for her weekly news conference with Capitol Hill reporters in Washington, U.S., October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said the Trump administration was reviewing the latest plan for more COVID-19 relief over the weekend and that she expected a response on Monday, adding that she was still optimistic a deal could be reached.

Pelosi said she would still pursue an agreement after the Nov. 3 election regardless of its outcome, but that she wanted to see a deal for another round of federal financial aid amid the novel coronavirus pandemic as soon as possible.

“We want it the sooner the better,” she said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

Pelosi and President Donald Trump have been trading accusations for days about who needed to act in order to cement another round of COVID-19 aid before Election Day, with Trump’s fellow Senate Republicans off to the sidelines.

Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, has been negotiating with U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to try to reach an agreement that could be worth around $2 trillion before the presidential and congressional election.

On Sunday, she said that Mnuchin was reviewing the latest proposed legislative language and that she was awaiting formal agreement from the White House on a deal.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, in a separate interview on CNN, said he had not seen the proposed bill yet and blamed House Democrats for the lack of any deal yet.

“We don’t even have the bill yet,” he said, adding he had been in contact with Senate Republicans, and said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had agreed to bring any agreement to the Senate floor “and get it passed.”

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Nick Zieminski