Even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now seems willing to negotiate on a second COVID-19 relief bill, her prior opposition has been duly noted by Republican leaders.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, for example, blasted the House speaker for her previous efforts to stall such legislation, arguing that while President Donald Trump has put Americans first, Pelosi is favoring the interests of trial attorneys.
“At the appropriate time”
Her remarks came during an appearance on Fox News’ Outnumbered Overtime in response to Trump’s tweet on Sunday night advising that his administration should wait until “later in the program” to receive a dose of the recently approved COVID-19 vaccine.
“The president decided frontline workers need to come first,” McEnany said. “Our residents in long-term care facilities need to come first.”
For his part, Trump explained that he is “not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time.”
McEnany noted that some individuals within the administration would receive the vaccine for the purposes of government continuity, but most would not.
Before turning her attention to Pelosi’s political tactics, she praised Trump for prioritizing “the most vulnerable” Americans, including “our heroic frontline workers” and “our residents in long-term care facilities.”
“The last thing they need”
Lawmakers are still trying to reach an agreement on the coronavirus relief package with yet another bipartisan proposal unveiled this week by legislators who hope to attract enough support to get the bill to Trump’s desk.
The $908 billion package would be broken into two parts, with the larger $748 billion portion aiding small businesses, the unemployed, schools, and vaccine distribution. The remaining roughly $160 billion would send aid to states and local governments and provide liability protections to small businesses.
The latter portion has presented sticking points on both sides of the aisle.
Democrats generally favor the aid for states and local governments while some in the GOP have opposed this measure as an unnecessary federal bailout. Conversely, Republicans want to protect businesses from being sued whereas Democrats are largely against the provision.
As McEnany recalled of her recent conversation with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows: “He said Nancy Pelosi is unfortunately putting the interest of trial lawyers first. These trial lawyers are the ones who are going to go after small businesses. That’s the last thing they need as they are trying to weather COVID, is all of this liability on their hands.”