Pelosi Says No Standalone Stimulus Bills—Including Airline Aid—Without Comprehensive Deal
In a press briefing Thursday morning, House Secretary Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that she would not support any standalone coronavirus aid bill—including one with payroll support for airlines—without a comprehensive relief package.
Just two days after he torpedoed negotiations over the next round of federal coronavirus, President Trump announced in a Thursday morning interview on FOX Business Network’s Mornings With Maria that those talks had resumed.
Trump has called for lawmakers to approve standalone relief bills for airlines, stimulus checks, and small business relief.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Pelosi said that she would be willing to consider a standalone airline bill—something she has already discussed with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin—only if the Trump administration can “guarantee” that a broader bill will also happen.
Pelosi will likely push for a larger bill that includes more funding to state and local governments—a key Democratic priority over the last several months—to hold off government layoffs.
According to Politico’s Jake Sherman, Mnuchin Wednesday evening broached the idea of restarting broad talks during a call with Pelosi, reportedly saying he’d need to convince the President first.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV on Thursday, Pelosi reiterated that she is still willing to negotiate that larger package with Mnuchin: “We are not leaving the table,” she said. “This has to happen.”
Pelosi also noted Thursday that the Trump administration had not responded to Democrats’ proposed language surrounded $75 billion in funds for coronavirus testing and tracing. That language is “central to the negotiations,” Pelosi said, adding that “there’s no way we can just say, ‘let’s write some checks,’” and give them to the Trump administration without terms Democrats are happy with.
“Well I shut down talks two days ago because they weren’t working out,” Trump said in a Thursday morning interview on Fox Business. “Now they are starting to work out, we’re starting to have some very productive talks.”
Trump’s decision to end talks until after the November 3 election was met with widespread criticism in Washington. “Clearly, the White House is in complete disarray,” Pelosi said in a statement. Some Republicans also criticized Trump, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) calling the decision a “big mistake” and Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) saying he “urge[s] the President to rethink this move.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)—who reportedly advised Trump that any deal Pelosi and Mnuchin made would be virtually guaranteed to fail in the Senate—said he supported Trump’s decision.
What To Watch For
Even if Trump has directed his representatives to restart negotiations, that’s no guarantee that a deal is possible. Any agreement that Pelosi and Mnuchin reach will also need the support of Senate Republicans, many of whom are vehemently opposed to spending on the levels that Pelosi and Mnuchin are discussing (most recently between $1.6 trillion and $2.2 trillion). The Senate is also delaying any votes until October 19 because of positive coronavirus tests among Republican members. On Wednesday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he was “not optimistic for a comprehensive deal.”
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Trump Urges Congress To Pass $1,200 Stimulus Checks, Paycheck Protection Funds After Ending Talks (Forbes)
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