Grassley: Congress ‘Can’t Wait’ on Pelosi, White House to Agree on Stimulus Package

October 20, 2020 Updated: October 20, 2020

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the upper chamber’s President Pro Tempore, said the Senate cannot wait until the White House and House Democrats come to an agreement on CCP virus relief.

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the GOP would attempt to pass several stimulus spending measures smaller than what either the Trump administration or House Democrats are proposing.

Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told Fox News on Tuesday that GOP senators are “tired of negotiations and ups and downs between” the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “So we’ve decided to move ahead on what we agree on,” he added.

“There [are] a lot of things … that have bipartisan agreement” in Congress to “try and get something rolling,” Grassley said.

But it’s highly unlikely the Republican bills will pass as they would need seven Democrats to join them. There have been no indications from Democratic senators that they would support McConnell’s initiative.

Grassley was responding to President Donald Trump’s recent calls to pass a stimulus package before the election.

“It’s very simple. I want to do it even bigger than the Democrats,” Trump told Fox News on Tuesday. “Now, not every Republican agrees with me, but they will … I want to do it even bigger than the Democrats, because this is money going to people that did not deserve what happened to them coming out of China.”

For weeks, Trump has called on Congress to “go big or go home” and has pushed for $1,200 direct payments to Americans. The last major pandemic relief measure was in March when Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which authorized the stimulus payments as well as other measures such as small business loans, expanded unemployment insurance, and other items.

Pelosi over the weekend said she would give a 48-hour timeline to come to an agreement.

“Where we have agreement, we don’t have agreement in the language yet, but I’m hopeful,” Pelosi told on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday. “The difference amounts to this, if you think of it this simple way: When you say ‘may,’ you’re giving the president a slush fund,” she said. “He may do this, he may grant, he may withhold.”

The White House offered a more than $1.8 trillion stimulus deal to Democrats, who have rejected it, although negotiations are continuing.

Trump also stipulated that he could get some GOP senators to support the virus aid deal.

“I want the money by tonight, but [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it because she thinks it’s good politically for her not to approve it. … She wants to bail out poorly run Democrat states,” Trump told local news station Wisconsin WTMJ over the weekend.