House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told colleagues late Thursday that Democrats won't leave the negotiating table as she promised to hammer out a stimulus agreement with Republicans.
The next package "will be safer, bigger and better, and it will be retroactive," she added.
Pelosi has been negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, President Donald Trump's top representative. The pair spoke for nearly 90 minutes earlier Thursday, Pelosi's spokesman said.
Mnuchin agreed to accept the Democrats' "language for a national strategic testing plan" for COVID-19 with “minor” edits, with plans to share the language on Friday, spokesman Drew Hammill said.
Pelosi told colleagues that Trump's administration had refused to accept Democrats' testing plan before accepting the plan with changes.
"However, even if this key priority is resolved, many other disagreements remain," Pelosi said. "These include, but are not limited to, funding for state and local government, tax benefits for working families, support for vulnerable small businesses, and child care funding. In addition to these deficiencies, the Trump proposal contains multiple deadly poison pills—including their radical Liability Provision which forces workers to risk their lives in unsafe workplaces with no legal recourse."
"Our disagreements are about more than dollars and cents. They are about values and common sense and respect for lives, livelihoods, and life of our American Democracy."
Pelosi, during the phone call, reminded Mnuchin that the president is pushing for an agreement and also brought up comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made hours prior.
"My members think half a trillion dollars, highly targeted, is the best way to go,” the powerful Republican said.
McConnell has said in the past that some Republican senators don't want another stimulus, or want a narrow, targeted package. He plans on bringing a $500 billion package to the Senate floor for a vote on Oct. 19.
Mnuchin "indicated that the President would weigh in with Leader McConnell should an agreement be reached" between the White House and Pelosi, the speaker's spokesman said.
"The problem you have is Nancy Pelosi. She couldn’t care less about the worker. She couldn’t care less about our people. And we should have a stimulus, and I want a stimulus. The Republicans will approve a stimulus. The problem is she doesn’t want to do it because she thinks it’s bad for her election," he said.
"You know who I’m negotiating against? Nancy Pelosi, because she doesn’t want to give them money. We should have stimulus. This was not our people’s fault. This was China’s fault. And she’s penalizing our people. I’m ready to sign a big, beautiful stimulus," he added later.