Kayleigh McEnany said Tuesday that Democrats are not serious about negotiating a deal on the next coronavirus stimulus bill as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows arrive on Capitol Hill for more talks on the sweeping package.
‘Democrats are fundamentally unserious and they’re making a mockery of the process,’ the White House press secretary told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
‘Right now we have Secretary Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, once again, asking Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to come to the table,’ McEnany said of the two senior administration officials engaging in another round of negotiations.
‘The ball is in their court here,’ she said of Democratic leaders. ‘We’ve made at least four offers, they’ve made zero offers. It’s unacceptable for hard-working Americans.’
President Donald Trump said during a coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday evening that Democrats just want additional funding for their states, which is why he claims they won’t budge on certain measures.
Democrats are demanding $1 trillion be allocated for state and local governments, even though that is the total price of the GOP-proposed package.
‘We’re talking with the Democrats – they seem to be much more interested in solving the problems of Democrat-run states and cities that have suffered greatly through bad management,’ Trump told reporters.
‘They’re looking for $1 trillion to help out with cities that are run by Democrats, in some cases radical left Democrats that have not done a good job,’ he continued in insisting their priorities are not on making a fair deal.
Following Capitol Hill meeting, Meadows revealed that Republicans did make more concessions in negotiations with Democrats than the opposition party was willing to make.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have raised their previous COVID-19 relief package price tag up by $400 million, a move McEnany slammed as a sign they aren’t taking talks seriously.
‘Right now the Democrats are being fundamentally unserious,’ McEnany lamented. ‘They’ve offered no concessions, they’ve offered no plans. If anything, they’re moving the opposite way. And to demonstrate their unseriousness, their $3 trillion plan, they’ve now said, ‘Oh, needs to be $3.4 trillion.”
Pelosi suggested Monday night that a deal won’t be reached until next week at the earliest – meaning jobless Americans will go at least two weeks without enhanced unemployment benefits.
McEnany also blamed Democrats for Americans losing out on the benefits, claiming they would not agree to a compromise detailed by Republican Senator Martha McSally that would extend the $600-per-week unemployment boost by a week while negotiations commenced.
‘Democrats, as I noted on Friday, were offered the Marth McSally bill, which would have been extending unemployment insurance for at least seven days while these negotiations continue,’ she said. ‘That was rejected by Chuck Schumer, which should tell you exactly where Democrats stand and it’s against hard-working Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.’
Meadows and Mnuchin have spent the last two weeks at the Capitol engaging in talks with Democrats and Republicans – and they are on the Hill again Tuesday afternoon to attempt to reach a compromise.
They first attended the Senate GOP lunch, before heading into negotiations with Pelosi and Schumer, which will be followed by a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has remained largely silent on the matter of another sweeping coronavirus stimulus bill.
Despite several meetings over the last two weeks between Schumer and Pelosi with Mnuchin and Meadows, the four have not reached an agreement on a single issue.
Pelosi told Democratic colleagues during a call on Monday that they had not been able to reach an agreement on the price tag for the fourth sweeping coronavirus package, but claimed Republicans will come their way on the bill, claiming they just don’t ‘know it yet.’
The California congresswoman proposed her HEROs bill last month, which includes $3 trillion in relief and economic stimulus, but the Republican HEALs bill has a total cost of $1 trillion – the amount Democrats want to go to state and local governments.
She also said GOP figures will not concede to giving any money to state and local government to mitigate the virus and claims her desire to enhance federal food stamp programs in the bill is ‘not where we need.’
One of the biggest issues for Americans, however, is the expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits of $600-per-week, which expired on Friday with no new deal on the table.
McConnell, from the Senate floor last Monday, detailed the the GOP-proposed bill included a decrease in benefits from the $600 boost to $200-per-week. The boost would then be phased out, in the Republican plan, then capping unemployment benefits at 70 per cent of the individual’s pre-coronavirus wages.
Democrats want to keep the $600 boost, which was included as part of a previous coronavirus relief package but had an expiration date.
Pelosi claimed during the phone call Monday that neither side is willing to budge on unemployment benefits.
On Sunday, Pelosi said, ‘The fact is we will be close to an agreement when we have an agreement,’ and is now claiming that might not happen until next week at the earliest.
This means Americans who have lost their job in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic will go without their enhanced unemployment benefits for two weeks, at minimum.
President Donald Trump said last week that he wants a bill to get passed that includes an unemployment benefits enhancement, just at a lower amount than the previous boost, and allocates $105 billion for schools to help them reopen in the fall.
He also wants to issue another round of $1,200 checks to Americans like the one sent out earlier this year.
Meadows and Mnuchin have been negotiating on behalf of the president on Capitol Hill, and while the Treasury secretary is more keen on negotiations – as he has successfully reached two deals with Democrats already – Meadows has grown tired of talking.
Meadows signaled that he will give negotiations another 24 hours and then will push for the president to sign a series of executive orders that solve some of the issues on the table and declare a victory for Trump.
Republican Senator John Cornyn, who is up for reelection in November, suggested Monday that the Senate cancel its August recess to get more work done.