After weeks of congressional deadlock surrounding the next coronavirus relief bill, recent comments from Capitol Hill’s top Democrat signal that Americans should expect to keep waiting.
According to The Hill, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters on Thursday that her party is “not budging” on its demands until GOP leaders agree to more spending.
“They have to move,” she said, as The Hill reported. “They have to move.”
“We have that responsibility”
Pelosi has previously touted her own party for attempting to negotiate in good faith by agreeing to shave $1 trillion off their proposed bill if Republicans would add $1 trillion to theirs, meeting in the middle for a piece of legislation tipping the scales at over $2 trillion.
In light of the GOP’s unwillingness to cede the spending its leaders have described as comprised largely of partisan pork, Pelosi appears intent on playing hardball.
“Why should there be a bill that has far less [of] what the public needs?” she asked in her remarks this week, according to The Hill. “We have that responsibility, and they’re just going to have to come up with more money.”
Her comments reportedly came just before a planned telephone conference between Pelosi and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The speaker acknowledged that she had low expectations for tangible results from the discussion.
“That could be a very short conversation if they’re not ready to meet in the middle,” she confirmed.
“Willing to sign something at $1.3 trillion”
Reuters later reported that the phone call did not, in fact, lead to any progress.
“This conversation made clear that the White House continues to disregard the needs of the American people as the coronavirus crisis devastates lives and livelihoods,” Pelosi said after the call.
Though there is no deal, the gap between the two parties is shrinking. Pelosi most recently dug in at a figure of $2.2 trillion while Meadows told reporters at the White House this week that the “president right now is willing to sign something at $1.3 trillion,” The Hill reported separately.
Democrats have reluctantly been willing to budge some on their ultra-expensive plan. As Americans continue to suffer from combined health and economic crises, however, millions are hoping that they will come to the table and agree to a plan that will provide relief without needless adding to the nation’s skyrocketing debt.