Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats are willing to reduce the Democratic relief package by $1 trillion if the White House and GOP’s leadership will increase their plan by $1 trillion.
Democrats proposed a $3 trillion bill called the HEROES Act, passed by House Democrats in May, while Republicans unveiled their $1 trillion HEALS Act last week.
If the two parties agree to a $2 trillion deal, as Schumer is suggesting, it is not clear what provisions will be left out or included.
Schumer told reporters Friday that Republicans “rejected it totally,” referring to the proposal, adding that Republicans want to spend “as little as possible” on pandemic relief.
“‘We’ll take down a trillion, if you add a trillion in.’ They said absolutely not,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) added in the news conference. “I will once again make the offer: We’ll come down a trillion, you go up a trillion, and then we’ll be within range of each other,” Pelosi added. “But again, this a very different set of values across the table.”
Chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are expected to meet with Schumer and Pelosi on Friday.
Mnuchin told Fox News after their comments on Friday: “That’s a non-starter.”
Schumer said that it’s not possible for a smaller bill to be passed by Congress at this time.
“The House doesn’t have the votes to go south of $2 trillion,” Schumer said. “Senate Democrats can’t go south of $2 trillion, so that’s what compromise is all about.”
Mnuchin, meanwhile, said that President Donald Trump is not willing to sign a bill that would “bail out” state and local governments. Democrats, in their HEROES Act, included $1 trillion for state and local governments, while Republicans have included no aid.
“The president is prepared to do something for state and local that deals with the issue of additional coronavirus expenses,” Mnuchin said.
On Thursday night, after another meeting, both sides suggested that they were far off on a deal in the near future. At risk is $1,200 stimulus checks, expanded unemployment benefits, state and local aid, liability protections, and other measures.
President Trump this week announced the White House would be working to craft an executive order that would provide an extension of unemployment benefits, suspend payroll taxes, provide a moratorium on evictions, and more.
In the interim, Pelosi and Schumer in a joint statement said they will “continue negotiating and reaching a fair agreement with the Administration, but we will not go along with the meager legislative proposals that fail to address the gravity of the health and economic situation our country faces.”