The White House said it will continue to pursue a smaller pandemic relief bill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that Democrats won’t consider a stand-alone measure to pass an airline relief bill.
“We’ve made very clear we want a skinny package,” White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah told reporters. “We’re for direct payments, we’re for extension of PPP, and we’d like to see an airline bailout, but not part of a larger package.” She was referring to the Payment Protection Program, which was included in March’s CARES Act.
Other White House officials were more critical following Pelosi’s remarks in a press conference on Oct. 8.
“We have to end the lockdowns. We have to do things in a safe and commonsense way so that we can get people back to work, back to school, back to church, we can do this,” White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern said in an interview.
He reiterated that President Donald Trump supports direct $1,200 payments to Americans, small-business loans, and an airline relief plan.
“It got to the point where it was clear that the speaker was not really negotiating in good faith toward the sort of solutions” that both Democrats and Republicans can support, Morgenstern said.
“The president is not going to allow her to exploit the situation that our country never asked for,” he said.
Pelosi’s office hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
On Oct. 8, Pelosi said, “I have been very open to having a single stand-alone bill for the airlines or part of a bigger bill.” But, she added, “There is no stand-alone bill without a bigger bill.”
A stand-alone 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 said.
Earlier this week, Trump said he’s calling off negotiations on a broader deal until the November election is over, but later said he wants stand-alone bills for $25 billion in airline relief and stimulus checks.