Despite Trump’s assertion, Democrats have not sought “Trillions” of dollars for “Blue States.” A bill passed by House Democrats in May would direct roughly $1 trillion to all U.S. states and cities that are facing severe budget shortfalls, including many states led by Republican governors.
The comments from the government’s political leaders came a day after Senate Democrats defeated a slimmed-down GOP relief bill. Democrats said the measure was inadequate to address the ongoing economic crisis facing many Americans, while Republicans said it would have offered needed assistance for many businesses and the unemployed. Negotiations between White House officials and congressional Democratic leaders that collapsed last month have not been revived, and there’s no obvious path to a deal in the few weeks Congress will be in session before recessing for the election.
“I wish I could tell you we were going to get another package but it doesn’t look that good right now,” McConnell said Friday during a visit to a hospital in Mount Sterling, Ky., offering his most pessimistic assessment to date about the state of play.
Roughly 29 million Americans are collecting some sort of jobless aid, and eviction and hunger crises threaten many people as key relief programs Congress approved as part of $3 trillion in spending in March and April have expired.
“I can’t predict that we’re going to get together here in the last two months before the election,” McConnell said. “There are needs that ought to be met and I would hope we could overcome our partisan differences and reach an agreement, but that has not happened as of today.”
Pelosi, by contrast, voiced optimism about the prospects of an agreement during an interview on CNN, though she didn’t indicate how or when a stalemate might be broken.
“I’m optimistic, I do think we should have an agreement, that’s what we all want,” Pelosi said. But Pelosi said the country’s needs are about more than just partial assistance programs. She said lawmakers should focus on “14 million children food-insecure, millions of families on the verge of eviction.”
Pelosi criticized Senate Republicans for advancing what she derided as a “terrible skinny bill to a massive problem that we have.” The Senate GOP bill would have spent about $300 billion in new money on things like limited new unemployment insurance payments and testing; Democrats by contrast have embraced a $3.4 trillion bill the House passed in May.
Pelosi insisted Democrats have been willing to compromise by offering to knock more than a trillion dollars off the cost of their bill, but McConnell said they were still trying to spend too much money.
“The speaker and the Democratic leader continue to insist on a massive amount of money for things that were frankly unrelated to the coronavirus, so we’ve reached a gridlock, and my interpretation is that the reason for that is we’re getting closer to the election,” McConnell said.
In attacking the request from Democrats for more aid to cities and states, Trump said the “USA is coming back strong!” — a sentiment that other White House officials have expressed in recent days as a way of conveying less desire to pursue a big stimulus package.
Asked about Trump’s tweet, Pelosi dismissed it as “pathetic as usual” and an “abomination.”
Trump appeared to be very interested several weeks ago in agreeing to a $1 trillion economic relief package that would include a new round of stimulus checks, among other things, but he hasn’t expressed as much interest in recent days. Pelosi, meanwhile, is facing some pressure from moderate Democrats and those facing tough reelections who are concerned about heading into the November election without agreeing to any more assistance. Pelosi told them in a conference call on Thursday not to get “weak knees” in the closing stretch of a negotiation.
At the same time, Pelosi is considering putting a stand-alone bill that would provide $75 billion in funds for coronavirus testing and tracing in coming weeks, according to a person familiar with her plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity.