THE White House has accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of holding up coronavirus relief aid as “an ultimatum.”
Pelosi on Thursday pushed for a $2.2trillion economic stimulus package from Congress, saying: “It’s hard to see how we can go any lower when you see the great needs.”
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The House Speaker said Democratic leaders have shown the White House that they’re willing to compromise on a bill.
House Democrats have lowered their previous stimulus ask by more than $1trillion, down from the $3.4trillion bill they approved in May.
But according to The New York Times, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Thursday that Pelosi asking for a $2.2trillion bill isn’t “a negotiation.”
Meadows said the demand is “an ultimatum.”
Congressional Democrats and Republicans have not been able to agree on another economic relief package that would benefit Americans who are suffering because of the pandemic.
At issue is a potential fifth coronavirus relief package that would extend supplemental jobless benefits to replace a $600-per-week COVID unemployment benefit that expired at the end of July.
It would also provide more than $100billion to help schools open, provide assistance to state and local governments, and put more money into a program that directly subsidizes business hit hardest by the pandemic.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump scolded Republicans for proposing a relief package he feels is too small.
“I like the larger amount,” he said during a White House press conference.
“Some of the Republicans disagree, but I think I can convince them to go along with that.”
Trump added he thinks he's getting closer to a deal on another round of stimulus checks for Americans.
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that "Democrats are 'heartless.’”
"They don’t want to give STIMULUS PAYMENTS to people who desperately need the money, and whose fault it was NOT that the plague came in from China.
"Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!)."
Pelosi recently said that any deal will have to include more than just another set of “Trump checks" – among other priorities.
“All they want is to have the president’s name on a check going out," she said. "That’s all he really cares about."
"We have to do more than just have the Republicans check a box.”
Earlier on Thursday, Politico reported that multiple members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus were trying to oust Pelosi.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the only Republican member who can give a “motion to vacate the chair" in a move to remove Pelosi.
He told Fox News on Wednesday: "I don't think it's the best move at the moment."
"The best move is to win 218 seats, and that defeats Nancy Pelosi," he said.
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