House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday said that Democrats are seeking a $2 trillion pandemic relief deal for the next package.
“We’re not budging,” she told reporters in the Capitol. “They have to move. They have to move.”
“Why should there be a bill that has far less [of] what the public needs?” Pelosi remarked. “We have that responsibility, and they’re just going to have to come up with more money.”
Pelosi said Thursday that if Republicans’ position remains unchanged, her meeting with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows won’t be very long.
“That could be a very short conversation if they’re not ready to meet in the middle,” she said, appearing to confirm reports that she is expected to meet with Meadows on Thursday.
“We consider, whatever his name is, Meadows here staffing Mr. Mnuchin,” she said, referring to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchun. Before President Donald Trump selected Meadows as his next White House chief of staff in March, he was a Republican lawmaker in the House.
The stimulus proposals are meant to offset potential economic losses incurred in the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
Talks between Pelosi, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and the White House stalled earlier this month, with both sides accusing one another of refusing to make a deal. Democrats have sought a $3.4 trillion deal and Republicans proposed a $1 trillion deal. Democrats then said they would cut about $1 trillion from their proposal.
“It’s really been Speaker Pelosi really driving this train as a conductor more so than really anybody,” Meadows said. “And I think privately she says she wants a deal and publicly she says she wants a deal, but when it comes to dealing with Republicans and the administration, we haven’t seen a lot of action.”
But Pelosi’s office told Politico that Meadows’ office didn’t reach out for talks.
In their talks earlier this month, the two parties differed on whether to extend the $600-per-week unemployment benefits authorized in March’s CARES Act and whether to provide $1 trillion in federal funding to state and local governments. Republicans said they were not willing to pass a measure on the $1 trillion, with Trump saying it would be tantamount to bailing out “poorly run” jurisdictions.
Last week, Meadows said there is a desire to pass a “skinny deal” after House Democrats re-convened to vote on a U.S. Postal Service funding bill.
The Senate is scheduled to return on Sept. 8, and the House will return on Sept. 14.