Pelosi made the statement after a “25-minute” call with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Thursday, which apparently did not do anything to push the talks forward.
“Democrats are willing to resume negotiations once Republicans start to take this process seriously,” Pelosi said in the written statement. “Lives, livelihoods, and the life of our democracy are at stake.”
The Speaker said that in the call with Meadows, she did offer to drop the funding amount to $2.2 trillion from the already lowered $2.4 trillion. She made it clear to reporters at her weekly press briefing on Thursday that they would not give up any of their demands.
“In order to meet in the middle, we have now said we would be willing to go to $2.2 trillion to meet the needs of the American people. This is not about dollars, this is about values,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi criticized the Trump administration for not prioritizing the needs of the American people, saying the Democrats’ package, which contains aid for front-line workers, rental assistance, money for food programs, funding for the United States Postal Service, among others things, shows they care.
The main negotiators for the current coronavirus relief package have been Pelosi, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Meadows, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The two sides remain far apart on the scope of this next package and have expressed little to no optimism that there will be any progress on stimulus talks before lawmakers return to Washington in September.
Republicans have proposed a package that is a little over $1 trillion, and is focused on reopening schools safely and testing, treatments, and vaccines. They have criticized the Democrats for adding unrelated funding measures into their package and ballooning the price tag.
Meadows on Wednesday told Politico that he’s “not optimistic” a deal will be reached until after September and said he expected that Pelosi would hold off until the September deadline so she can push her priorities through.
At her press briefing on Thursday Pelosi said it has been hard to reach an agreement because “We do not have shared values.”
“I check in with my Chairmen. They say, ‘You know, I know you have to come down, but understand our number is a defensible, scientific, institutionally based justification for what the public needs, whether it’s about schools and the rest or people being evicted or millions of children hungry in our country and the rest.’ Pelosi continued.
The White House did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for a comment about the stalled negotiations and Speaker Pelosi’s statement.
Meanwhile, from the campaign trail, Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told local Kentucky newspaper The News-Express on Thursday that although negotiations are stalled, he does think a package is needed.
McConnell said the Democrats’ Heroes Act, which the House passed in May, was done hastily and was too broad. “Our friends in the House acted within a month, adding $3 trillion more,” McConnell said.
“I’m not here to make a partisan observation, but I felt it was too much too soon. We needed to wait a little bit and see what we had already done, see how it affected the country, and make a decision then. Regretfully, we are now in a much more partisan place than we were in March or April,” he continued.
“I can’t tell you today that we’re going to reach an agreement on another rescue package, but here’s what I can tell you: I think we need another one,” McConnell added. “I think the country needs another one.”