Stimulus legislation negotiations between Republicans and Democrats have collapsed, leaving many in limbo as a growing number of Americans face economic hardship and evictions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said the White House remains unwilling to reach a compromise that would help tens of millions of Americans suffering from the fallout over the pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) countered by alleging that Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues have “sabotaged backroom talks with absurd demands that would not help working people.”
More than two months ago, House Democrats passed the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act. After failing to consider the Heroes Act, Senate Republicans waited until the end of July to introduce the $1 trillion HEALS Act.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows led the negotiations for the White House, and both steadfastly refused to budge from their $1 trillion proposal, while Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) held firm to the price tag of the Heroes Act.
The standoff has resulted in the clock running out on enhanced unemployment benefits, where recipients receive an additional $600 weekly above state funds.
The GOP wants to cap those weekly benefits at $200 despite more than 50 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits since the beginning of the pandemic.
Democrats have also asked for state and local aid to the tune of $915 billion, but President Donald Trump claims that he doesn’t want to bail out “failing Democratic-run states.”
During negotiations, Republicans offered to provide $150 billion to state and local governments.
The stalled talks have also put to the sidelines hopes struggling Americans may have for a second direct stimulus payment.
Both sides have agreed on providing direct payments like the earlier Cares Act, in which most Americans received a $1,200 stimulus check.
In saying that Democrats are willing to meet Republicans in the middle and agree to a $2 trillion package, Pelosi has said her party won’t compromise on either unemployment benefits or state and local government aid.
“When [Republicans] are ready to do that, we’ll sit down,” Pelosi stated when asked if talks would resume if the GOP accepted the Democrats’ $2 trillion offer.
“We said, ‘$2 trillion and then we can sit down at the table.’ Then [Mnuchin] said, ‘That’s not what she said. She said $2 trillion or we can’t sit down at the table,’” Pelosi said. “Didn’t you think that that was strange?”
She continued when asked when she might speak with Mnuchin again.
“I don’t know. When they come in with $2 trillion,” Pelosi said. “But we’re not sitting down at the table to validate what [they] have proposed, because it does not meet the needs of the American people.”