House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sunday shot down the Trump administration's latest stimulus proposal as President Donald Trump pushed for a deal just days after saying all talks were off until "after I win" the election.
In a letter to fellow Democrats, Pelosi said the past week "demonstrated very clearly" that Trump "has not taken the war against the virus seriously, personally or nationally."
"This attitude is reflected in the grossly inadequate response we finally received from the administration on Saturday," she said.
Days after Trump said he was killing pre-election talks before completely reversing his position, the Trump administration put forth an offer of a $1.8 trillion — not far off from the latest Democratic proposal of $2.2 trillion. But Pelosi said differences went beyond dollars, saying the sides disagree on how to combat the virus — which has killed more than 215,000 Americans as cases are on the rise nationally — and on "who benefits from the spending."
On testing, tracing and treatment, Pelosi said the Trump administration offered a "wholly insufficient" package.
"It is hard to understand who is shaping their approach, which to date has been a miserable and deadly failure," Pelosi said. "Until these serious issues are resolved, we remain at an impasse."
But, she said she remains "hopeful" the impasse will be broken.
Speaking in an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Trump said of stimulus negotiations: "Republicans want to do it; we’re having a hard time with Nancy Pelosi."
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"We’re ready to go, we’re all ready to go, we can’t get Nancy Pelosi to sign the documents," he continued.
Some of the loudest opposition to the Trump administration's latest stimulus offers have come from Senate Republicans, who have said they do not want to pass such a large package. Trump said Friday he "would like to see a bigger stimulus package, frankly, than either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering.”
In a letter to House and Senate members on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Staff Mark Meadows called for previously unspent Paycheck Protection Program funds to be spent "while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package."
"The all-or-nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people," they said, adding that Trump is "available to meet" with members of Congress.
It's been a rollercoaster week for stimulus negotiations, which have progressed slowly since the Democratic-led House passed its proposal in late May and the previous relief bill expired in late July. Trump has oscillated from saying talks were dead to calling for piecemeal legislation and then a bill even larger than the current Democratic proposal.
Another round of direct payments to Americans, enhanced unemployment benefits and cash for testing, schools, small businesses and the airlines, which have begun substantial layoffs, are at the center of ongoing negotiations.
Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said more stimulus to the economy is necessary because the recovery has "a long way to go."
Speaking with CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said he did not think a potential stimulus deal is "dead at all." Just days ago, he told CNBC negotiations were at an impasse because it's "too close to the election" and there is "not enough time to get stuff done at this stage in the game."
"I think, if we could get this thing settled on the Democrat side, we will get it settled on the Republican side," Kudlow said Sunday of potential Republican opposition. "There will still be further efforts at negotiation, perhaps today, but certainly this coming week. So, I don't think we really — the D's are holding this thing up."
Kudlow added that the administration has "been offering compromise after compromise."
"Now we have raised the ante on some just key targeted points, not everything else," he said. "We're not talking about giveaways to state and locals, fixing pension funds, harvesting mail ballots, assistance to illegal immigrants that have nothing to do with COVID or the economy."