• White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says the White House and Democrats could reach a deal within 48 hours
  • He said continuing talks are mostly technical, hammering out language in the measure
  • The two sides have agreed to a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, supplemental unemployment benefits, money for small business and coronavirus testing, and funds for airlines and hospitals

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday he’s optimistic a deal on coronavirus stimulus can be reached before Friday, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw cold water on the process.

"I am optimistic," Meadows told Fox Business. "We do share one goal, and that is hopefully to get some kind of deal in the next 48 hours or so."

Negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been dragging on for weeks, with sniping from the sidelines from President Donald Trump.

Last Week, Trump tweeted, “Go big or go home,” as talks appeared to be on the verge of collapse. More recently, Trump said he wants an even bigger deal than Democrats have been pushing, and he guarantees Republicans will be on board once agreement is reached.

“Not every Republican agrees with me, but they will,” Trump said on Fox News Tuesday.

Senate Republicans are resistant to another massive package akin to the $2.2 trillion CARES Act adopted in March. The last of the measure’s provisions are due to expire Dec. 31.

Pelosi had set a Tuesday deadline for agreement to guarantee passage before Election Day, now less than two weeks off.

House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill earlier this month, a trimmed down version of the more than $3 trillion measure passed in May and ignored by the Senate.

The White House has proposed a $1.88 trillion bill while Senate Republicans favor a $500 billion proposal as they eye a ballooning budget deficit.

"I can tell you that the negotiations have entered a new phase, which is more on the technical side of trying to get the language right if we can agree upon the numbers," Meadows said. "We’re still apart. Still a number of issues to work on, but the last 24 hours have moved the ball down the field.”

On Tuesday, Meadows told CNBC: “I want to stress: We’re not just down to a difference of language and a few dollars. We still have a ways to go. But I would say the conversations today were productive enough to have conversations tomorrow.”

Pelosi said during a Sunday interview on ABC that it is the details that are holding up agreement, objecting to White House-proposed language making certain requirements optional rather than mandatory.

She said it’s not so much the size of the bill that’s the holdup but how the money is spent, and in an interview with Bloomberg Tuesday denied she was stringing the White House along.

Among the provisions on which the two sides have agreed are a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, supplemental unemployment benefits, money for small business and coronavirus testing, and funds for airlines and hospitals.

McConnell on Tuesday cast the whole process in doubt, warning the White House not to make a deal because it could disrupt his schedule for confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the Washington Post reported. The comments were made during a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans.

McConnell, who has stayed out of the stimulus talks, earlier told reporters if a deal between the White House and Democrats was reached, he would put it on the floor but did not commit to doing so before the election. Senate Republicans fear voting on a massive stimulus bill before the election could cost the GOP their majority.