House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is not wasting any time when it comes to passing a second round of coronavirus relief.
Although the U.S. House Speaker has remained firm on not supporting legislation below the ballpark of $2.2 trillion, she indicated on Thursday, October 15, that she won’t be postponing negotiations until January, according to The Washington Post.
“I’m not putting anything off until January,” she told her Democratic colleagues during a call, the newspaper reported, citing an anonymous member who was involved in the discussion.
“The last thing I want is to have Joe Biden come in, and we have to sweep behind this elephant in January. We have to be ready for what comes next. And we will be.”
Negotiations have yet again reached an impasse as legislators continue to argue over the overall price tag for the next bill. Pelosi has turned down several offers from Senate Republicans, as well as the White House, including Senate GOP’s $300 billion “skinny” bill and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s $1.6 trillion counteroffer to Democrats’ revised HEROES Act.
Pelosi has said she won’t support a bill that doesn’t meet the “needs of the American public,” including plenty of funding for state and local aid, extended federal unemployment benefits and a comprehensive national testing and tracing plan, The Washington Post reported.
“This is about a pandemic in case you haven’t noticed. This is about a pandemic where we are trying to compensate the states for the money that they spent on the pandemic and the revenue that they lost,” Pelosi said on October 14 on MSNBC, according to The Post.
“That’s one thing that the president, they’ve all just ignored. The president said, ‘I’m not paying blue states,’ all that stuff. They haven’t taken this seriously.”
For his part, President Donald Trump has been very critical of Pelosi. He says he’d go even higher than the Mnuchin offer. “I would. Absolutely I would. I would say more. I would go higher. Go big or go home, I said it yesterday,” the president told Fox Business.
“Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to give anything. She thinks it helps her with the election. And I don’t think so. I think it hurts her with the election because everyone knows she’s holding it up. We’re not holding it up. She’s holding it up.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Pelosi’s Stance has ‘Both Sides Squirming,’ the Washington Post Says
The newspaper reported that there “is a growing concern” in Congress that voters might have to wait until next year for another round of relief if Pelosi continues on the path that she is on.
Her convictions have “politicians on both sides squirming,” The Washington Post added, citing President Donald Trump’s recent Twitter jab at the House speaker.
Pelosi “couldn’t care less about the American People,” the president wrote on October 14, while Democratic Representative John Gottheimer of New Jersey, the leader of the Problem Solvers Caucus, also encouraged the California Democrat to find a middle ground, according to The Washington Post.
“When families and businesses are hurting, and it looks like we have to wait until February for action, we simply can’t dismiss any help out of hand,” he said, the newspaper cited. “I‘m sure there are areas for improvement, but we should stay at the table until we can get this across the finish line.”
The Washington Post described the debate as a delicate subject within the House Democratic Caucus, “where some members want Pelosi to make a deal but are afraid of calling out the powerful speaker by name.”
The Issue Is a Sensitive Topic for Pelosi
Pelosi has frequently claimed that politics have nothing to do with her position.
On Tuesday, October 13, she unleashed on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after he implied that she was letting “the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
Pelosi accused The Situation Room anchor of being an apologist for the Republican party who didn’t know what he was talking about.
“With all due respect … you really don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.
The House speaker highlighted in an October 13 press release why she took issue with the White House’s latest $1.8 trillion proposal, which she called “one step forward, two steps back.”
Pelosi criticized the package’s lack in state and local government funding and argued that a national testing and tracing plan should be included.
“Sadly, the serious issues detailed above are not exhaustive of our many outstanding concerns,” the House speaker said. “Significant changes must be made to remedy the Trump proposal’s deficiencies. Updates will continue.”
The White House proposal, up slightly from Mnuchin’s initial $1.6 trillion counteroffer, includes $300 billion for state and local aid and maintains $400 weekly extended federal unemployment benefits, among other initiatives.
Pelosi also expressed concern that the president could use it as a “slush fund” to his “own political advantage,” The Washington Post added.
Trump Has Downplayed Senate Republicans Pushback on His Latest Proposal, With Many Calling the Price Tag a Betrayal
A handful of Republican senators pushed back on the administration’s $1.8 trillion stimulus proposal, including John Barrasso of Wyoming and Mike Lee, of Utah, according to The Washington Post.
Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn went as far as to condemn the bill as the “death knell” of the GOP majority, the newspaper continued.
“The opposition was so fierce that Meadows told the group at one point, ‘You all will have to come to my funeral’ because he would have to take their message back to President Trump,” The Washington Post wrote.