Pelosi Says COVID-19 Relief Talks Will Resume Only If Republicans Agree To $2 Trillion In Aid
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats will resume coronavirus relief aid negotiations with the White House only when Republicans agree on a $2 trillion deal.
“When they’re ready to do that, we’ll sit down,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol on Thursday.
Pelosi said Wednesday she “hoped” negotiations would not go on until September because Americans would be left without funds and “people will die.”
Negotiations have been set to decide between the Senate Republicans’ $1 trillion HEALS Act and the House’s $3.4 trillion HEROES Act passed in May.
Democrats have proposed middle ground to Republicans for a deal for no less than $2 trillion, Republicans consider the sum to be far too high.
“The House doesn’t have the votes to go south of $2 trillion, the Senate Democrats can’t go south of $2 trillion, so that’s what compromise is all about,” Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “Because there are 20 Republicans who don’t want to vote anything that doesn’t mean the whole thing should shift in their direction. You have to meet in the middle.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi spoke about the deal over the phone on Wednesday, but Pelosi said that Mnuchin rejected her $2 trillion offer. Mnuchin, meanwhile, claimed Pelosi’s comment was “not an accurate reflection” of the phone call.
“She made clear that she was unwilling to meet to continue negotiations unless we agreed in advance to her proposal, costing at least $2 trillion,” Mnuchin said, adding that the Democrats “have no interest in negotiating.”
President Donald Trump last week went around Congress and announced executive action for $300 coronavirus relief aid for the unemployed, with states having an option to chip in additional $100. Governors have already criticized the plan as too costly for many states.