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Capitol Report: Trump officials hopeful coronavirus stimulus can be approved by Congress by Monday

After meeting with Senate Republican leaders on Capitol Hill on Thursday, two of the Trump administration’s top economic officials said they were hopeful the massive economic recovery package to offset the coronavirus outbreak could passed by Congress by Monday.

“The key word is urgency and we want to get a package done by Monday,” said Larry Kudlow, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, adding the meeting was “very cooperative, constructive.”

White House officials are set to head back to the Hill on Friday morning for more meetings, this time with Senate Democrats in the room with Republicans as lawmakers try to push ahead to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., unveiled the package Thursday that members of his party had agreed on after breaking into smaller “task forces” to deal with individual issues.

The Republican plan calls for direct payments of $1,200 per person and $2,400 for couples as part of a $1 trillion stimulus package to offset the damage to the economy from the coronavirus outbreak.

Read:McConnell bill will send checks of $1,200 per person

But the road ahead may get bumpy. Senate Democrats have their own ideas on what should be in the package, and members of the Democratic-led House of Representatives must also ultimately sign off on it, even though the House has been in recess since last week.

“I think we had a productive discussion this evening with the Republicans. We look forward to tomorrow meeting with the Republicans and the Democrats and moving forward on this quickly,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters as he left McConnell’s office in the U.S. Capitol.

None of the officials would discuss specifics. The New York Times reported late Thursday that the Republican plan includes large corporate tax cuts.

“We need to get this done Monday, so the American public needs us to move forward. Our objective is to have Congress pass legislation on Monday and have the president sign it,” Mnuchin said.

Mnuchin said he had talked with both Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the Democratic leader in the Senate, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., about the emerging package, though he did not elaborate on how those conversations went.

Eric Ueland, director of the White House’s office of legislative affairs, also said Pelosi was being kept in the loop. “There’s a lot of great bicameral conversation going on. We’re flowing a lot of information to both chambers, even though, to your point, the House isn’t here,” he said.

Ueland also left the door open for the package to grow larger than the $1 trillion price tag that President Donald Trump has floated as a target.

“I don’t believe that they provided a score or an estimate from Joint Tax or CBO in terms of its net fiscal impact. I do know, however, that they were looking to match the president’s charge for at least a trillion dollars and I believe that as we work through the substance over the next couple of days, we’ll at least stay there,” Ueland said.

Jonathan Nicholson is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist who has covered economics and fiscal policy for more than 20 years.