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Speaker Pelosi: Democrat in White House will enhance power of U.S. House

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that having a Democrat in the White House next year, President-elect Joe Biden, does not mean more compromise with Republicans and gives more power to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

“We had a very big win in the last election (2018),” Pelosi told reporters. “It is smaller now. We still have the power of the majority, but on top of that our leverage and our power is greatly enhanced by having a Democratic president in the White House.”

President Donald Trump is contesting the Nov. 3 election results, claiming voting fraud and other irregularities. But he so far has offered no evidence of that and Biden, a Democrat, is expected to be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.

Meanwhile, the current House and Senate plan to work during November and December on a wide-ranging bill to fund government agencies through next September and avoid partial shutdowns after Dec. 11 when existing money runs out.

Details are still being worked out on a spending bill and it is not yet clear whether Trump will sign into law whatever measure Congress sends him.

More contentious, however, is Democrats’ continued push for a major new coronavirus aid bill, possibly in the range of $2.2 trillion that Republicans have been resisting for months.

With the coronavirus pandemic now worsening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been standing by his demand for a much smaller aid package.

During her press conference on Friday, Pelosi said that with Biden’s election and Trump now a “lame duck,” McConnell will see that his leverage on such legislation “will change.”

There are no signs yet that a bipartisan deal in Congress on a coronavirus aid bill, on top of the approximately $3 trillion approved earlier this year, can be reached by year’s end.

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Doina Chiacu; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy

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