Pelosi made the comment after Blitzer suggested the Democratic caucus was not entirely behind her decision to hold out for a better deal. Since June, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have struggled to agree on a price tag and the components that should be in the next coronavirus relief package.
In May, Democrats passed the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act and Republicans passed the $1.3 trillion HEALS Act later in the same month. Since then, Republicans moved their estimate up by $600 billion in a $1.6 trillion offer proposed by Republicans, while Pelosi and the Democrats recently passed an updated $2.2 trillion version of the HEROES Act.
Pelosi took issue with Blitzer’s implication that she may be facing a rebellion from her own caucus if she doesn’t strike a deal soon.
At a point, Pelosi told Blitzer, “I don’t know why you’re always an apologist, and many of your colleagues, apologists for the Republican position.”
Pelosi & Blitzer Had a Contentious Interview on ‘The Situation Room’
The interview started out with Blitzer asking Pelosi if she would “look the American people in the eye” and tell them why she won’t accept Trump’s deal. Pelosi has addressed the question before, and told CNBC, “This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back.”
In the interview, Pelosi responded to Blitzer’s question, “I hope you ask that same question of Republicans why they don’t want to meet the needs of the American people.”
When Blitzer asked her about a tweet from Ro Khanna urging Pelosi to agree to the $1.8 trillion deal and “put the ball in McConnell’s court,” Pelosi said she didn’t understand why Blitzer and some of his colleagues were being apologists for the Republicans, and added, “Ro Khanna, that’s nice. That’s not what we’re going to do.”
At one point, Pelosi chided Blitzer for his previous choice of interview guests whom she said “know nothing about the agreement”:
We’re going to get a bill, and when we do, it will be retroactive. It will be retroactive. You quoted two people who know nothing about the agreement — well there is no agreement — but what the suggestions are, as if they have some authority on the subject. Please give equal weight to all of the chairmen on the committee who will have written this bill.
Then when Blitzer pointed out that some Democrats have criticized her as uncompromising, Pelosi pushed back and told Blitzer that he didn’t know what he was talking about:
No, I don’t care about that. He is not that important comment but let me say this, with all due respect … with all due respect — and you know that we have known each other for a long time — you really don’t know what you’re talking about. The plural of anecdote is not data. Yes, there are some people who have said this or that. Overwhelmingly, my caucus wants what is right for the American people. Overwhelmingly, our chairman, who wrote the bill, read their statements — they all put out their own statements when they saw what the White House was proposing.
So do a service to the issue, and have some level of respect for the people who have worked on these issues, written the bill to begin with. Now let me just say this in terms of the numbers. I want people to do the math, we had 3.4 which would meet the needs of the American people for a sustained period of time so that there was some certainty in what would happen. The Republicans said no, so we took it down a trillion dollars by cutting the time. We took it down another 2 billion dollars.
The interview ended with this exchange:
(Pelosi:) You are not right on this Wolf, and I hate to say that to you, but I am confident about it, and I am confident about my colleagues and I have confidence in my chairs.
(Wolf:) It’s not about me, it’s about millions of Americans who can’t put food on the table, who can’t pay the rent –
(Pelosi:) And we represent them.
(Wolf:) – who are having trouble getting by –
(Pelosi:) And we represent them.
(Wolf:) – and these long food lines that we’re seeing.
(Pelosi:) We know them. We represent them and we know them. We know them, we represent them, yes.
(Wolf:) Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, as they say.
(Pelosi:) It is nowhere near perfect.
(Wolf:) Madame Speaker.
(Pelosi:) Always the case, but not even close to the good.
(Wolf:) Well, let’s see what happens because every day is critically, critically important. Thanks so much.
(Pelosi:) Thanks for our sensitivity to our constituents’ needs.
(Wolf:) I do because I see them on the streets begging for food.
(Pelosi:) Pelosi: Have you fed them? We feed them.
A New Coronavirus Relief Package Has Not Yet Been Hammered Out
Just days after Pelosi had indicated in a letter to Democratic colleagues that she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — both of whom make up the principal negotiators on a new coronavirus relief package — were close to a package, Trump suddenly announced via Twitter that no stimulus package negotiations would take place until after the election, which sent the stock market tumbling.
Trump reversed course on October 6, tweeting, “If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy? @MarkMeadows @senatemajldr @kevinomccarthy @SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer.”
This newest deal that The Washington Post reported the Trump administration prepared would have a $1.8 trillion price tag, which is much closer to the $2.2 trillion bill that House Democrats passed. However, it was rejected by Democrats, who thought the bill did not do enough, and Republicans, who thought the bill cost too much.