Trump has the upper hand over Pelosi in stalled COVID relief bill talks

President Donald Trump is giving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a lesson in “the art of the deal.”

Trump has successfully turned the negotiating tables on Pelosi regarding a coronavirus relief package, according to allies of the president, The Washington Examiner reported.

Democrats: Our way or nothing

The Trump administration and Democratic leaders have been going back and forth for months on a coronavirus relief package that both sides would agree to. Talks have stalled several times as Pelosi has gone with an all or nothing approach: a bill packed with items from a Democrat wish list or no package at all.

The Democrats’ preferred version of the bill would cost $2.2 trillion and, among other items, bailout poorly-run Democrat states and cities, a demand Republicans will not agree to.

With Pelosi refusing to budge, Trump made a surprising move to call off the negotiations entirely until after the election. He instructed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to instead focus on the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The following day, however, Trump made another move. In a tweet directed at Pelosi, he said he is willing to pass stand-alone relief measures, such as aid for the airline industry and another round of $1,200 checks for the American people, Newsweek reported.

Pelosi responded that it was a nonstarter, and argued Democrats would lose all “leverage” in future negotiations if they were to pass such stand-alone measures, according to NBC News.

Trump has the upper hand

Most recently, Trump is preparing a $1.8 trillion relief bill, up about $200 billion from the Republican’s previous offer, according to a senior administration official, Fox News reported.

Pelosi and the Democrats are now in a tight spot, as Trump has made it plain to the American people that it is Pelosi and the Democrats who are holding up further coronavirus relief.

Rick Manning, the president of Americans for Limited Government explained:

The president never stops negotiating, and he basically told Pelosi that he’s no longer going to negotiate on her terms. His tweets are telling the public what Pelosi was walking away from: extended unemployment benefits for people who need it and support for small businesses being destroyed by the lockdown.

It is now Pelosi’s move. Given the approach the Democrats have taken thus far it is unlikely she will suddenly accept Trump’s deal. Democrats seem to think that withholding further coronavirus relief is the best way to hurt Trump ahead of the general election.

Time will tell if they are right.

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