Mark Meadows said Sunday that Nancy Pelosi would ‘rather have nothing’ in terms of a new coronavirus relief package than bring the price tag down and negotiate with Republicans.
‘Here’s the problem is – she puts forth a number, suggests that she came down, and yet she’s willing to turn down $1.3 trillion of help that goes to the American people because she would rather them have nothing than to give way on what her fantasy objection might be,’ the White House chief of staff told NBC News’ ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday.
Democrats’ original bill proposed last month was reaching numbers upwards of $3 trillion while Republicans’ proposal was a bit over $1 trillion.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would be willing to meet in the middle at $2.2 trillion.
But Republicans claim $1 trillion is plenty after Congress has already passed a handful of other relief bills amassing trillions of dollars in coronavirus relief and economic stimulus.
Pelosi and Meadows are expected to speak again Sunday as weeks of negotiations failed earlier this month between Democrats, Republicans and the White House.
‘Well, we’ve brought up a number. I had a conversation with Speaker Pelosi. And even on her $2.2 trillion counter offer, she can’t tell the American people, nor me, what is in that,’ Meadows accused of the California Democrat.
‘I can tell you what is in the offer that the president has made and he’s willing to sign,’ he continued. ‘Enhanced unemployment at levels she would agree with. Enhanced help for small businesses at levels she would agree with. Literally, help for daycare and hospitals at levels she would agree with. And help for schools at levels she would agree with,’ he said.
I can tell you all of those things that I just mentioned are available for the American people and the speaker, Pelosi, is saying no,’ Meadows said.
He also claimed that the White House will no longer negotiate with Democrats over desired numbers.
‘Are you going to bring your number up? Or is that your – is $1.3 trillion your final offer?’ NBC News’ Chuck Todd asked of the president’s chief of staff.
‘Well, listen, we’re not going to negotiate here because the speaker’s been very clear. When she said $2.2 trillion, she said, ‘Don’t do anything at all,’ Meadows responded, claiming she said she wouldn’t tell him what was in her bill.
‘That’s not a proper negotiation,’ he insisted. ‘In fact, many of her rank and file members don’t even accept it.’
Republicans put forth a coronavirus relief bill late last month that included extending the unemployment benefit boost, but lowering it.
Democrats demanded that the relief not be reduced as millions of Americans remain unemployed, laid off or furloughed in the midst of the pandemic.
The bill also included money for schools to reopen in the fall and another round of $1,200 checks for Americans.
Democrats are demanding more, claiming that the bill does not nearly adequately address the issues Americans are facing.
Following the breakdown in negotiations, President Trump signed a series of executive orders to address some of these issues head on – including a payroll tax holiday and issuing a moratorium on evictions.