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Pelosi 'optimistic' on virus aid deal before election

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday (October 18) she was "optimistic" Democratic lawmakers could reach an agreement with President Donald Trump's administration on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package.

But she said differences remain between the two sides.

Pelosi, the top elected Democrat, said she wanted a bill passed before the Nov. 3 presidential election, but acknowledged an agreement would have to come within 48 hours for that to happen.

Trump on Sunday signaled that he too was eager to deliver a relief package.

"We're talking about it. I think Nancy Pelosi's maybe coming along. We'll find out."

But Pelosi negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, in the Middle East until Tuesday.

Democrats are seeking a $2.2 trillion rescue bill. The White House proposed $1.8 trillion last week, which Pelosi said fell short on aid to state and local governments, worker protections, and rent relief.

The president has sent mixed signals on where he stands. He's cancelled talks, then rushed back into them within days. On Sunday he suggested he wanted to spend more money than the Democrats asked for.

"We want to do it. I want to do it at a bigger number than she wants. That doesn't mean all the Republicans agree with me, but I think they will in the end. If she would go along, I think they would too."

Republican Senators seem unlikely to sign off on any big spending bills before November.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to hold a vote this week on a pared-down bill of roughly $500 billion in targeted aid, a so-called "skinny" bill.

Democrats have rejected the Republican plan as "piecemeal."