House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been peacefully negotiating the relief package over the past few weeks. However, the two started to blame each other for the failure after the negotiations stalled over the weekend. The same happened on Thursday as well with both Pelosi and Mnuchin started to blame each other for blocking the coronavirus stimulus and checks.
It all started after Pelosi sent a letter to Mnuchin, saying she is “still awaiting” a response from the White House on “multiple items of critical importance.” In the letter, she detailed the sticking points in the negotiations, such as a national testing strategy, aid to state and local governments, liability protections for businesses and more.
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Pelosi, in the letter, also expressed the intention to continue with the negotiations. Talking of Trump’s recent remark of coming up with a “best” stimulus package “ever” after the election, Pelosi said it is only possible if Trump can “get Mitch McConnell to take his hand off the pause button and get Senate Republican Chairmen moving toward agreement with their House counterparts.”
In a news conference earlier in the day, Pelosi also suggested continuing with the negotiations. She even hinted at approving the next relief package in the congressional lame duck session. Pelosi said she hopes to come up with the legislation before the presidential inauguration in January because "first and foremost, the American people need help."
Mnuchin accused Democrats of not showing real intent
Mnuchin, in response, dismissed Pelosi’s act of sending a letter as a “political stunt.” He said that Pelosi sent the letter to his office “at midnight and simultaneously released it to the press, I can unfortunately only conclude that it was a political stunt.”
Further, Mnuchin said he has given “endless hours” in an effort to come up with an agreement. He, however, blamed Democrats for not showing the same intent to reach a deal.
Talking about Pelosi’s comments on the sticking points, Mnuchin said the White House did accept their proposal on the COVID-19 testing. Also, the White House offered “reasonable compromise positions” on other issues that Pelosi talked about.
Mnuchin also slammed Pelosi for opposing stand-alone bills for the airlines, small businesses and direct payments to individuals. “Your ALL OR NONE approach is hurting hard-working Americans who need help NOW,” Mnuchin said.
Later, Pelosi's spokesman Drew Hammill responded to Mnuchin’s letter. Hammill said the White House’s response hadn’t “lived up to Secretary Mnuchin’s promise to accept Democrats’ language to crush the virus.”
Hammill also reiterated that Democrats are “still waiting for meaningful responses” on the sticking points detailed by Pelosi in her letter. The spokesman said the responses are critical to delivering the relief quickly to Americans.
“It is disappointing that the White House wasted time on this letter instead of meaningful responses to meet the needs of the American people,” Pelosi’s spokesman said.