Pelosi Says Democrats Still Won’t Accept $1.8 Trillion White House Stimulus Offer


In a contentious interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reiterated that she is not prepared to accept the White House’s $1.8 trillion proposal for the next round of federal coronavirus aid legislation. 

Key Facts

Asked by Blitzer about a recent tweet from fellow liberal Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) suggesting that Democrats should accept the Trump administration’s offer in order to force Senate Republicans into accepting a plan more expensive than the one they want, Pelosi said, “that isn’t what we’re going to do.” 

Khanna has taken the position that if the White House can meet the Democratic ask for Covid-19 testing and tracing funding along with adequate legislative language to create a testing plan, Democrats should accept a $1.8 trillion package.

On CNN Tuesday evening, Pelosi said Khanna is “not negotiating this situation,” adding that the majority of her caucus wants to hold out for a larger bill. 

She has repeatedly said the White House’s offer does not adequately address the needs of the country.

Pelosi has taken particular issue with the amount of money allocated to state and local governments, changes to certain tax credits, and the specifics of the legislative language related to testing, tracing, and treatment of the coronavirus.

Crucial Quote

After CNN’s Wolf Blitzer told Pelosi, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Pelosi replied: “It’s nowhere near perfect…we’re not even close to the good.” 

Big Number 

$500 billion. That’s the rough cost of yet another new stimulus proposal the Republican-led Senate will bring up for a vote when it returns on October 19. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the new package will contain another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. It will also reportedly include more enhanced federal unemployment benefits (though it’s not clear at what level) and more money for schools and healthcare providers. 

Key Background

After months of stalled negotiations, top Democrats and the White House are now left with two competing offers (notwithstanding the newest plan from the GOP, which isn’t likely to succeed in a House or Senate vote). The White House put forward a $1.8 trillion plan on Friday as a counter-offer to a $2.2 trillion plan (itself a downsized version of a $3.4 trillion bill) passed by Democrats in the House at the beginning of this month. 

What We Don’t Know

Any deal that Pelosi and the White House strike must have enough Republican backing in the Senate to make it to President Trump’s desk. Right now, with much of the GOP vehemently opposed to spending at the level the White House has suggested, that doesn’t look likely. It isn’t impossible, however: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany suggested earlier this week that Republicans would fall in line with the White House if a deal is struck. 

Further Reading

McConnell Says Senate Will Vote On ‘Targeted’ Stimulus Bill As Trump Pushes For A Bigger Deal—Again (Forbes)

Trump Pushes For Speedy Supreme Court Confirmation So Lawmakers Can Approve Stimulus, But A Deal Is Still A Long Way Off (Forbes)

White House Says Republicans Will ‘Come Along With’ What Trump Wants On Stimulus (Forbes)

White House Calls For ‘Immediate’ Vote On Stimulus Stopgap Bill Using Unspent PPP Funds (Forbes)

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