Top Senate Dem calls on Pelosi to agree to scaled-down coronavirus relief package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has taken heat from the GOP for months over her refusal to agree to a coronavirus relief deal.

Now, even Democrats are turning on her. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) called Pelosi out over her decision to repeatedly stall relief, saying that there is “no excuse” to not bring legislation to a vote.

Democrats are falling

Pelosi set a hard limit of $2.2 trillion over the summer, refusing to even consider GOP or White House proposals that fell below that threshold.

Now, with critical programs expiring, the economic protections afforded by the original relief deal struck at the beginning of the pandemic are on the verge of collapse. Pelosi has rejected dozens of scaled-down proposals, claiming that they are not comprehensive enough, while still blaming Republicans for the holdup in relief.

A new proposal has been brought by a group of centrist Senators as of Monday, and proposes $748 billion in spending on “education, vaccine distribution, transportation, small business relief and federal unemployment aid,” according to Fox News.

Durbin warned Pelosi to not reject the proposal during a press conference announcing the deal. “There is no excuse for the speaker or the leader, you’ve got to give us a vote,” Durbin said on Monday.

“This is our consensus bill,” Durbin said. “We all agree on it. It’s ready to go.” Sen. Chris Coons chimed in, adding to the pressure for Pelosi to break down and accept a paired-down bill.

“This should not be Congress’ last COVID relief bill, but it is a strong compromise that deserves support from both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate,” Coons proclaimed. “We cannot leave for the holidays without getting relief to those Americans who need it.”

No word from Pelosi

Pelosi herself has made similar statements in recent weeks about coming to an agreement before ending the legislative session for the holidays. But she’s remained steadfast in her refusal to actually negotiate with GOP leaders and lawmakers.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany accused Pelosi of putting “the interest of trial lawyers first” instead of financially suffering Americans and small businesses.

“I talked with the [White House] chief of staff [Mark Meadows] about it this morning,” McEnany said during a Monday interview. “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.”

“We also want the money to go directly to the American people in the form of direct payment checks,” McEnany added. “Come on, Nancy Pelosi. Negotiate. That is all we are asking for.”

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