After talks collapsed on Aug. 7, there haven’t been many attempts to restart them. However, when there were, it seemed the opposite side didn’t pay much attention. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows suggested this on Wednesday when talking about the coronavirus economic stimulus negotiations.
Meadows contacted Pelosi, but not for negotiations
Meadows told reporters Wednesday that his office tried to reach out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an attempt to resume coronavirus economic stimulus negotiations. However, he didn’t get any response and didn’t expect one either.
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“I actually had my staff reach out again yesterday to Speaker Pelosi's chief of staff,” Meadows told Politico. “We haven't anything from her, and I don't anticipate we'll actually get a phone call."
Meadows expects Pelosi to resume talks in September at the time of the next spending bill. The deadline to propose a budget for fiscal 2021 is September 30.
Pelosi will “hold out until the end of September and try to get what she wants in the funding for the government during the [continuing resolution] or whatever funding mechanism happens to come up at the end of September," he said.
However, Meadows is still hopeful about striking a deal, reiterating that President Donald Trump wants to reach an agreement as well.
Pelosi’s office, on the other hand, denies any effort from Meadows’ side to resume negotiations. Instead, Pelosi’s office told Politico that Meadows’ office contacted them just to confirm a phone number.
Last week, Meadows told ABC News' This Week that he would contact Pelosi last Sunday. However, Pelosi’s staff claimed that he never did.
One major sticking point that resulted in failed coronavirus economic stimulus negotiations is the cost of the bill. Democrats initially demanded $3.4 trillion in stimulus, while Republicans and the Senate were willing to commit to about $1 trillion.
At the time of the negotiations, Democrats proposed coming down by $1 trillion if Republicans increase their offer by $1 trillion.
"We offered to come down $1 trillion if the White House would come up $1 trillion. We welcome the White House back to the negotiating table but they must meet us halfway," Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hamill, told Fox News.
In an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, Pelosi also stated that the White House continues to oppose new funding for nutrition programs and favors tying part of the school funding to physical reopening. Democrats oppose both proposals.
Another contention between the two sides is federal aid to state and local governments. Democrats support widespread support, but Republicans are against support for states that have had budget problems for years. Such differences between the two sides are holding up the coronavirus economic stimulus negotiations even though the two sides agree on sending $1,200 stimulus checks.