House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that congressional Democrats are now willing to cut their COVID-19 relief bill in half to come to an agreement with Republicans and the White House.
“We have to try to come to that agreement now,” Pelosi said in an interview with Politico. “We’re willing to cut our bill in half to meet the needs right now. We’ll take it up again in January. We’ll see them again in January. But for now, we can cut the bill in half.”
Pelosi did not exactly elaborate on the figure, but she may have been referring to the House Democrat-passed HEROES Act in May, which is worth about $3.4 trillion. This month, Democrats offered to reduce the bill down by $1 trillion, which was rejected by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other Republicans.
Republicans in late July offered a $1 trillion bill known as the HEALS Act. Notably, the measure would omit funding for state and local jurisdictions, while Democrats’ HEROES Act included nearly $1 trillion in funding for those municipalities.
Earlier in August, talks between Mnuchin, Pelosi, and other officials stalled over the wide gap in funding. President Donald Trump then took executive action, providing $300 federal unemployment payments, a student loan deferral, a suspension of payroll taxes, and authorizing a moratorium on evictions.
And last week, Trump wrote on Twitter that he directed Mnuchin to ready $1,200 stimulus payments for individuals, and $3,400 for a family of four. In the same breath, he said that Democratic leaders are the ones holding up a deal being made.
In the same interview, she said that Democrats would try to pass legislation on a $25 billion bill to boost U.S. Postal Service funding and stop organizational changes before the election.
“Yeah, we want to roll them back. You know, he calls them reforms. Reforms! Reforms for what?” Pelosi said, referring to comments made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “I think it’s really important for the American people to know this: When they talk about the Postal Service, they say ‘Oh, they’re losing money, we have to make this, this, and this.’ That’s not the point. It’s not a business. It’s a service.”
On Tuesday, Mnuchin said that while talks are currently stalled, he hopes Pelosi can return to the negotiating table.
“Speaker Pelosi is coming back to look at Postal, hopefully she’ll be more interested in sitting down,” he said in an interview.
“We started with a trillion dollars, we agreed to increase that in several areas in an effort to compromise,” he said, referring to the $1 trillion Republican HEALS Act. “They didn’t come down, they never made us a proposal at two trillion, they never gave us a line-by-line counter.”
The stimulus legislation is intended to offset U.S. economic losses and financial damage caused by the (Chinese Communist Party) CCP virus pandemic.