It was expected that when the House returned on Saturday to vote on funding for the U.S. Postal Service, there might be some talks on the next coronavirus economic stimulus. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows even returned to the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, but there were no talks on the next coronavirus economic stimulus as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t available.
No talks on coronavirus economic stimulus
On Saturday, the House convened for a rare session to vote on a $25 billion funding bill for the U.S. Postal Service. According to Meadows, he tried to use the occasion to push forward the talks on the next coronavirus economic stimulus.
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Meadows said he met with rank-and-file Democratic and Republican lawmakers to discuss a compromise. He said he also attempted to meet with Pelosi, but she was busy with another meeting.
“I will reach out to the Speaker. I went by. She was in a meeting, and, certainly, as Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin and I, as you know, the secretary reached out a few weeks ago. She made it clear at that point that there was no real need to continue to vote,” he told reporters, according to The Hill.
Meadows insists on passing provisions both sides agree on.
"If it's urgent enough to come back on a Saturday, you know, hurting small businesses and people that are hurt without jobs [are] certainly a priority as well," Meadows said.
He said he would get in touch with Pelosi later to resume talks on the coronavirus economic stimulus.
Citing sources with knowledge, The Hill reported that there was no meeting scheduled between Pelosi and Meadows on Saturday.
“He showed up with no notice. Speaker was in a leadership meeting,” a senior Democratic aide said.
Pelosi rejects GOP’s slimmer proposal
There are reports that the GOP proposed a package that is even slimmer than the $1.1 trillion HEALS Act. This bill includes $10 billion for the Postal Service, funding for small businesses, unemployment insurance benefits and other provisions.
Earlier on Saturday, Pelosi held a press conference about this slimmer package. She rejected the offer, arguing that it lacks many key provisions, such as funding for testing, food stamps, help for renters and aid for state government.
"That's totally unacceptable," she said of the proposal, referring to Trump's chief of staff as "what's-his-name."
“You listed some things that what's-his-name put forth," she said. "He didn't say anything about schools.
If there are no talks on the coronavirus economic stimulus, Meadows hints at additional executive action if needed. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last met with Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to negotiate the stimulus package on August 7.
“Never underestimate the dysfunction of Congress, and never underestimate the ability of this president to try to figure a way to meet the needs of the American people,” he said.