Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday sought a response from the White House regarding House Democrats’ latest stimulus package, saying that failure to pass a stimulus measure would create more economic fallout and exacerbate the CCP virus pandemic.
“Your responses are critical for our negotiations to continue,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as talks between the two parties broke down again after months of on-again, off-again negotiations.
“The President’s words that ‘after the election, we will get the best stimulus package you have ever seen’ only have meaning if he can get [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell to take his hand off the pause button and get Senate Republican Chairmen moving toward agreement with their House counterparts,” she added, referring to the Republican senior senator from Kentucky.
Both parties accused one another of holding up the stimulus package amid squabbles over the size and scope of the bill. Republicans in the Senate have said that they won’t pass a large spending package, terming House Democrats’ efforts as “socialist” with too many unneeded provisions. Democrats have insisted that it is the White House and Republicans who are refusing to budge, while some progressive members of Pelosi’s caucus have called on her to take the White House’s latest offer.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly called for stimulus payments, expanded unemployment measures, and more, while balking at Democrats’ proposal to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to fund cities and states amid budget shortfalls.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration offered a $1.9 trillion offer to match Democrats’ $2.2 trillion HEROES Act, but the two sides have had differences on the specific language dictating how the funds should be allocated.
Trump initially called on Congress to vote on a package before Election Day, but he then told reporters this week that it won’t likely occur until after Nov. 3.
“After the election, we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen,” he said on Tuesday.
During last week’s presidential debate with Joe Biden, Trump said that it was Pelosi who was behind the impasse, arguing that a stimulus package before the election would benefit his reelection chances.
“Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it. I do,” Trump said. “It’s near the election, because she thinks it helps her politically. I think it hurts her politically.”
Throughout the CCP virus pandemic, governors and mayors have implemented shutdowns that have triggered significant job losses, although it appears a recovery is underway as the Commerce Department reported that U.S. gross domestic product rebounded at a 33.1 percent annualized rate last quarter, the fastest pace of growth since the government started keeping records in 1947.
In the final push towards the election, Trump has cast himself as the candidate who can restart the economy and appears to be betting on Americans’ weariness of the pandemic.
“We have to open our country. We’re not going to have a country,” Trump said a week ago during the debate, saying that the United States is a “massive country” with rising rates of depression, suicide, drugs, alcohol, and tremendous drug abuse.
“The cure cannot be worse than the problem himself,” he said. “He’ll close down our country,” Trump said, referring to Biden.
Reuters contributed to this report.