According to an interview Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin delivered during a Fox News segment, he is ready for unconditional negotiation with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Newsweek reported. However, he also became the third Republican leader to accuse Pelosi of stalling for political reasons.
Pelosi has also signaled she wants to negotiate, although she made it clear she’d prefer to negotiate with Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. “I’ve spoken to his representatives and he says that they speak for him. And I take that to be true about the secretary of the Treasury and we have worked together,” Pelosi said, according to The Hill.
In May, the Democratically controlled House — led by Pelosi — passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to pass. Later in May, Republicans responded by introducing the roughly $1 trillion HEALS Act.
Pelosi Implies That If a Deal Gets Done, It Will Likely Get Done Without Trump
Pelosi appeared on MSNBC, where she told interviewer Craig Melvin that she has not yet spoken to Trump about stimulus checks, coronavirus or the wildfires raging across the West Coast, The Hill reported. When asked about the conversations with Trump, Pelosi said, “I don’t find it a good use of time,” according to The Hill.
Pelosi also said that she finds Trump too unreliable, The Hill reported. “Quite frankly, my experience with the president has been that it hasn’t been on the level. You know, he’ll say something and then it doesn’t really happen. So in the interest of time, we’ll work with who he sends over,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi has instead spent much of her time negotiating with Mnuchin as well as Meadows, despite Meadows’ reputation as a staunch ideologue. Many noted that the most successful negotiations appeared to occur between Mnuchin and Pelosi alone, with Representative Bill Foster saying of Meadows in an MSNBC appearance, “He refused to negotiate as a matter of ideological principle, so I’m not personally surprised that we were able to come up with a compromise when it was Pelosi and Mnuchin … but that we have failed when you add Mark Meadows to the mix.”
Both Pelosi and Trump have failed to negotiate very much legislation together and their conversations have typically devolved into personal attacks. For instance, after Pelosi made comments about Trump’s weight, referring to his “weight category” as “morbidly obese,” according to BBC, Trump responded by calling, “Pelosi is a sick woman” with a “lot of mental problems.”
Pelosi has demanded that Republicans meet in the middle and said that she will not go lower than $2.2 trillion, telling Meadows that Democrats were “not budging,” according to Forbes. Republicans have said that they are not going above $1.3 trillion.
In a September 11 interview on CNN, Pelosi said she was optimistic, but would not agree to stimulus checks without a deal on food and housing security programs. “I’m optimistic. I do think we should have an agreement, that’s what we all want,” Pelosi said.
Republicans See the Democrats’ Opposition as Politically Motivated
Trump, McConnell and Mnuchin have all accused Pelosi and the Democrats of intentionally holding up negotiations until after the 2020 presidential election.
Despite being the one who originally called for a “pause” in negotiations following the Democratic House’s passage of the CARES Act, which The New York Times reported in May, McConnell now says being closer to the election means a deal is less likely to happen. “We haven’t reached an agreement, and I don’t know if that’s going to be possible with all of the partisan juices flowing like they are some two months from the election,” McConnell said according to Newsweek.
On Monday, September 14, Mnuchin told Newsweek, “There is a compromise if the speaker is willing to move forward. I am somewhat concerned that she’s afraid any deal would be good for the president.”
Trump had reached the same conclusion earlier, according to what The Hill reported. “I know Pelosi, I know Schumer very well,” Trump said. “They don’t want to make a deal because they think it’s good for politics if they don’t make a deal. I’m taking the high road by not seeing them. That’s the high road.”
Perhaps surprisingly — considering his less-than-solid relationship with Pelosi — Meadows has said that he still believes they could reach a deal; on a deal, he told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, “I’m more optimistic today than I have been in a long time.”