“We have to move quickly — more quickly — because that light at the end of the tunnel might be the freight train of the virus coming at us if we do not act to contain it,” Ms. Pelosi said, speaking before the meeting with Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Mr. Meadows.
Republicans, for their part, blamed Democrats for what they described as an unwillingness to compromise on a number of critical fronts, like agreeing to liability protections for businesses or accepting a lower level of funding for schools that are already starting the academic year. They remained bitterly opposed to Democrats’ demands for hundreds of billions of dollars for food aid, election security and the Postal Service.
“A lot of Americans’ hopes — a lot of American lives — are riding on the Democrats’ endless talk,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, vowing to remain in Washington in anticipation of an agreement. “I hope they are not disappointed.”
It is all but guaranteed that a popular small-business loan program will stop accepting applications at the end of the week, becoming yet another casualty of the faltering negotiations. And it appeared likely that the talks would stretch into next week. Mr. Meadows said he would host a daily conference call next week with Republican senators to keep them updated on the progress — or lack thereof — of negotiations.
“I was hoping that maybe you wouldn’t have that call after Friday because we’d have a deal,” Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, told reporters. “I do think at some point, everybody has to make a decision either we’re going to do this or not, and if we’re not, we’re not.”
The persisting impasse has prompted the president and his lieutenants to double down on the threat of unilateral executive action, including addressing a lapsed federal unemployment benefit and Mr. Trump’s demands for a payroll tax cut. (At least one Republican senator, Charles E. Grassley, the chairman of the Finance Committee, expressed skepticism about whether a payroll tax cut was warranted with millions of Americans unemployed.)