Pelosi Plays Hardball as Coronavirus Stimulus Talks Resume
You could get whiplash after the talks about a coronavirus relief package.
Just two days after President Trump said he directed his agents to suspend negotiations, talks appear to be back on track.
In a morning interview with the Fox Business Network, Trump said the two sides had resumed discussions. "I cut the talks two days ago because they didn't work out. Now they're starting to exercise. We're starting to have some very productive conversations," he said, adding that House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi also wants another bill, "because it is so good for our country. We really need it."
What Trump Said: "We're talking about airlines and we're talking about bigger business than airlines." We're talking about a $ 1,200 per person deal, we're talking other things. But it's not everyone's fault, they tried to get things and we tried to get things and it didn't go anywhere. I turn it off. I don't want to play games. And then we reopened and I see that the markets are doing fine, but I think we have really good chances of doing something. "
Pelosi plays hardball: the spokesman confirmed that talks are ongoing. "We're at the table. We want to continue the conversation. We've made some progress. We're exchanging languages. So we'll see how we connect," she said.
But she also beat up Trump for leaving the talks earlier, and she turned down the idea of a standalone bill to help airlines and industrial workers facing vacation.
Pelosi last week called on airlines to postpone the leave of absence for thousands of workers, suggesting that Congress either pass a standalone auxiliary bill for the industry or provide salary support under a comprehensive contract. After the Republicans blocked a standalone bill from Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio (D-OR), on Friday, Pelosi signaled this week that it was still open to providing aid to airlines. After some Democrats reportedly asked why only airlines should get aid, Pelosi adopted a tougher position at their press conference Thursday.
"There is no standalone bill without a larger bill," she said, suggesting that the airline's relief could be part of or in addition to a larger package.
McConnell skeptical: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who backed Trump's decision to pull out of talks earlier this week, said Thursday that another bailout was needed - but the upcoming elections make reaching a deal difficult .
"There's no question that proximity to the elections made this much more difficult," McConnell said at a press conference in Erlanger, Kentucky. “We agree that another rescue package is needed. We have huge differences in how much we should spend. "
He added that Pelosi "insists on an outrageous amount of money".
Can a deal be made? Talks may resume, but the two sides remain divided on a number of issues. Pelosi, for example, stressed Democrats' insistence on language that prevented Trump from diverting funds to a national coronavirus testing and tracking strategy. With the choice only 26 days away, there isn't much time to resolve some significant differences. In light of the challenges, the Trump administration and Republicans of Congress have discussed the release of their own new package, according to The Washington Post, that could include $ 1,200 stimulus checks, small business help, and airline payroll assistance.
Bottom Line: For now, McConnell perhaps best summed it up when he said on Thursday, "The day-to-day discussion can be confusing for all of us if we follow suit."
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