House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is blaming President Donald Trump’s administration for holding up coronavirus stimulus negotiations over failing to accept Democrats’ language on national testing measures.
With the chances for reaching a deal before Election Day all but diminished, Capitol Hill negotiators are heating up the blame game. Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill on Thursday, October 29, slammed the administration and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for failing to uphold their “promise” on including Democrats’ “language to crush the virus” in the legislation.
“Two weeks later, the White House still has not lived up to Secretary Mnuchin’s promise to accept Democrats’ language to crush the virus,” Hammill tweeted. “We still are waiting for meaningful responses in the areas the Speaker outlined.”
These responses are needed so that talks can advance to deliver coronavirus relief as soon as possible. It is disappointing that the White House wasted time on this letter instead of meaningful responses to meet the needs of the American people. (2/2)
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) October 29, 2020
Negotiations between Pelosi and Mnuchin, who represents the president in stimulus talks, took a turn this week when Mnuchin accused Pelosi of playing political games. The Treasury secretary released a public statement to a letter he received from the House speaker, in which he claimed she did not fairly portray the administration’s position on the status of the stimulus talks.
Pelosi’s letter cited a list of differences that remained unresolved during their race to strike a deal pre-election, including a national testing strategy, state and local government funding, extended unemployment benefits and others.
Stimulus negotiators have remained divided over the same sticking points for weeks, including Democrats’ calls for substantial state and local government aid and Republicans’ desires for employer liability shields, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Senate adjourned until November 9 after voting to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Fox Business said. The House is already out. However, legislators in both chambers could be summoned to vote with 24 hours’ notice should an agreement be reached, the outlet continued.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mnuchin Says the White House Agrees on Certain Testing Measures
I woke up this morning and read @SpeakerPelosi’s letter to me in the press. Enclosed is my response. Her ALL OR NONE approach is hurting hard-working Americans who need help NOW! pic.twitter.com/tarhPwYmkv
— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) October 29, 2020
Mnuchin claimed Pelosi’s October 27 letter was a “political stunt” arguing it was sent to him and the press “simultaneously.”
The “letter inaccurately describes the status of our current negotiations,” he tweeted. “I feel obligated to publicly respond.”
The Treasury secretary stated that the White House accepted Democrats’ proposal on certain testing measures, including “dollars and language” for testing and infrastructure, with only “minor comments.”
He added that although his public comments never referenced contact tracing, “We provided you a reasonable response that agreed to the funding level, but included more authority to the states as they have varying circumstances.”
You can read the rest of his response here.
Pelosi’s spokesman took to Twitter shortly after to respond to Mnuchin’s letter.
Hammill expressed that it is “disappointing that the White House wasted time on this letter instead of meaningful responses to meet the needs of the American people.”
Trump is Promising the ‘Best Stimulus Package You’ve Ever Seen’ Post-Election
On October 27, Trump confirmed that a stimulus package would not be passed before Election Day.
He told reporters at the White House that he promised to deliver the “best package you have ever seen” following the election.
The president also took the opportunity to flip the script on Pelosi, blaming the House speaker for stalling negotiations over “bailouts” for Democratic jurisdictions.
“Nancy Pelosi is only interested in bailing out badly run, crime-ridden Democrat cities and states. That’s all she is interested in,” the president said. “She is not interested in helping the people.”