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Why Democrats and Republicans have different priorities on COVID relief

Is time running out for economic stimulus before Election Day? The informal deadline set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is passing Tuesday. She and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin held more talks about pandemic relief but did not yet reach agreement. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to oppose making a deal before the election. Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    A deadline is passing tonight in the push for new economic stimulus before Election Day. But U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says time has not run out yet.

    We turn to congressional correspondent, Lisa Desjardins, to explain what's been happening today and in the last few hours.

    So, Lisa, fill us in on where things stand as of now. We know that Speaker Pelosi had been saying that they needed a framework as of tonight in order to get this done by the election.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    That's right. They do not have that framework in place. They still have areas of disagreement, though Speaker Pelosi put out a message tonight saying they believe they have gotten closer.

    She and the main negotiator for the president, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, had another phone call tonight. It might feel like deja vu to people. What was this deadline? Why did we think there was a deadline?

    Pelosi essentially is saying that they need a deal within the next few days — she originally said today — in order to pass relief by the Election Day. And as like any kid trying to make the school bus, they're trying to push it almost as far as they can.

    So, now it looks like negotiators will again return tomorrow. There remains a question about Senate Republicans. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, The Washington Post reports, today told his Republicans he does not think there should be a deal now, that he does not have faith in Pelosi.

    All of this as Americans, by and large, agree on what they want. Let's look at a graphic today. This is a poll from The New York Times and Siena College, showed 72 percent of voters in their survey support a $2 trillion deal. That's about the middle point between the White House and Pelosi right now.

    And let's look at the breakdown by party; 56 percent, a majority of people who identify as Republicans, and 91 percent of Democrats support that deal.

    So, Judy, Americans want stimulus now, but Congress has not been able to figure out a deal with the White House.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, the obvious question, Lisa, is why?

    If you have got, what, almost three-quarters of the American people saying, we want you to get this done, why are they not able to get it done?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    We spoke about the politics last night.

    We spoke about the politics last night. That is a major factor in the election looming.

    But I want to talk about something else. These are two parties that are seeing and feeling very different effects of this coronavirus. Let's look at where the virus has hit the hardest. In this first graphic, you see highest unemployment in this country has been in places like Hawaii, Nevada. The highest economic loss by GDP, Hawaii, Nevada, Michigan.

    Highest revenue loss for the states, you see, again, California, New Jersey, New York. Most, but not all of those states are led by Democrats and largely blue states.

    Now let's look at the opposite. Where are things going the best in this crisis, relatively? You look at those states. Where is unemployment the lowest right now? North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, also Vermont. Then where is the economy doing the best? Utah, Arizona, North Dakota again. Where is the lowest revenue loss for the states? Places like Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia.

    Those are red states, Judy. So, you see a real disparity in which states are being hit. And that disparity, I think, is reflected in the urgency of lawmakers at the Capitol, with Democrats pushing for much more sweeping aid, Republicans reluctant to go that far.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Pretty striking, when you look at it from that — from that point of view.

    But, Lisa, you still — in every state, even in the states where things are generally going well, you still have people who are hurting, who were suffering. But that doesn't make — hasn't made a difference?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    No, because sometimes it's industry-specific.

    And, also, let's look at one particular type of community, communities of color. When people were asked if they have difficulty paying for usual expenses in the census, you see, who is having the hardest time? People of color, Blacks, Latinos, and then whites not as much. So you definitely see a disparity on that level as well.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, I know you are on this, following it very closely. And they are still talking to one another, so we will see where it goes.

    Lisa Desjardins, thank you.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    You're welcome.

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