Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed on Sunday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has once again decided she is out on a proposed coronavirus relief bill.
Negotiations between the White House and Pelosi have broken down several times since Pelosi first forced the HEROES Act through the House in May.
Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday” that Pelosi has a hard lower limit for the bill’s funding of $2.5 trillion. GOP legislators and the White House have balked at the number, arguing that it includes unnecessary spending not related directly to COVID-19 relief.
Not only is the nation suffering from the economic effects of the lockdown, but the government is rapidly approaching a shutdown if Pelosi does not agree to a broader spending deal.
Mnuchin said that he and Pelosi have reached an informal agreement to avert a shutdown that will likely carry the government through until December, though Pelosi has not made any formal commitments.
The informal agreement or “continuing resolution” is separate from the coronavirus stimulus bill, which Mnuchin believe should have a much lower budget than Pelosi has requested.
“The speaker has refused to sit down and negotiate unless we agree to something like a $2.5 trillion deal in advance,” Mnuchin explained. “As you know, we put $3 trillion into the economy when the economy was completely shut down and we’ve now reopened the economy. Let’s do a more targeted bill now and if we need to do more in 30 days we’ll continue to do more.”
Pelosi takes heat
Pelosi has taken a great deal of heat over her refusal to consider approving a smaller coronavirus spending bill in order to deliver fast economic relief to Americans.
Pelosi tweeted on Saturday that “the sad state of America’s coronavirus response today is the result of President Trump’s failure to lead these past months and Mitch McConnell’s one-sided pause. We can’t waste a day. The Senate must pass the #HeroesAct or the situation will worsen.“
The speaker has rejected numerous compromises and counter-proposals since May without remorse, conveniently blaming the stalled negotiations on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY0 and the White House.
Pelosi said last week that Democrats would not allow coronavirus relief spending to drop below $2.4 trillion, despite GOP legislators calls for a narrower and more targeted spending package.
“We’re not going to budge,” the California Democrat said at the time. “We can’t go any less because we have to meet the needs of the American people. When they are willing to do that, they’ll let us know.”