House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected President Donald Trump’s calls to pass standalone stimulus measures, including funding for airlines and direct stimulus payments to Americans.
“I have been very open to having a single standalone bill for the airlines or part of a bigger bill,” she told reporters at a news conference.
But, Pelosi stipulated, “There is no standalone bill without a bigger bill,” adding that the relief measure should help states, children, schools, and more.
A standalone bill to provide relief to airlines will not move “if we don’t have a guarantee that we’re going to be helping our state and local employees, that we’re not going to be able to crush the virus, that we’re not going to be able to have our children go to school safely, that we’re not going to have safety in the workplace, that we’re not going to address unemployment,” she continued.
It came after some Democratic lawmakers urged urgent action to provide funding to airlines with tens of thousands of American Airlines and United Airlines jobs being furloughed. The companies have been particularly hard-hit during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, as people have opted not to travel to prevent the risk of contracting the illness.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) earlier this week tried to pass an airline funding provision by unanimous agreement but was ultimately blocked.
But on Thursday, Pelosi told reporters that those negotiations were on hold until President Trump was willing to come back to the table on a several-trillion dollar pandemic relief package.
“Let’s take a serious—not a skinny, not an emaciated but a serious appropriate approach—to crushing the virus,” Pelosi told reporters.
Trump and Republicans in both the House and Senate have described Democrats’ recent pandemic relief bills as being too far-left, too expensive, and have too many additional provisions unrelated to the pandemic.
Earlier this week, Trump announced that he would be halting negotiations with Pelosi, calling on the Senate to try and confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Hours later, he said he supports passing a standalone bill for $1,200 payments as well as airline relief.
Since then, there have been a number of mixed signals sent by both Republicans and Democrats, with Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaking at length over pandemic stimulus measures on Wednesday.
Trump, for his part, told Fox News that the negotiations are “working out,” adding: “I shut down talks 2 days ago because they weren’t working out. Now they’re starting to work out.”
“We’re talking about airlines and we’re talking about a bigger deal than airlines,” he added.
Pelosi, during the same press conference, also suggested Democrats are coming up with a new strategy to put pressure on Trump, saying they would be holding an event to discuss the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution.