“At this point, we still disagree on many priorities, and Democrats are awaiting language from the administration on several items as negotiations continue over the total funding amount,” Pelosi wrote in a letter on Saturday to Democratic House of Representatives.
In a Saturday conference call with Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Senate Republicans criticized the $ 1.8 trillion offer the White House made to Speaker Pelosi, according to multiple sources.
They went through a number of Republican party concerns, such as state and local funding, as well as overall price tag.
The sources said that while the feeling was that talks with Pelosi should continue, it was clear that the White House plan had almost no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate.
Senator Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, said to Mnuchin and Meadows emphatically, “I don’t understand it” when it comes to why the White House is going their current course, according to two sources familiar with the call. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said it would be a “death knell” for the Republican majority in the Senate and would “empty” the base just three weeks before the election.
Senator Lamar Alexander, one of the conference’s most revered members, told Meadows and Mnuchin that there was simply “no desire” to spend the number the White House was moving in.
Republican Senator Mike Lee stressed that if a deal is reached, it could completely destroy the focus on Trump’s Supreme Court nomination – which should be the focus of both Republicans in the White House and the Senate, he told me.
Meadows and Mnuchin indicated that they would give Trump the comment.
According to the sources familiar with the call, after receiving all the criticism, Meadows told them, “You all should come to my funeral” after providing this information. Mnuchin agreed that it would be received very poorly.
Republican senators were unaffected by these comments.
In the call, several Republican senators harshly criticized Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, saying he had gone too far in demanding Congress approve an overall economic easing and that he was derailed to publicly declare his demands, according to two sources.
The president said Friday that he would like to see more stimulus than is currently being rolled out by Democrats or his administration, but Republicans in Congress remain opposed to a price in excess of $ 1 trillion or any amount of new aid. Republicans united in the Senate behind the cost of $ 500 billion.
Pelosi has repeatedly argued that the actual legislative language – and where that language directs the money – has become the most important aspect of any deal, and has specifically pushed to fund states and localities that are critically under-budgeted, a major sticking point in the Trump administration.
In her Saturday letter, Pelosi rejected Trump’s proposal, describing it as wanting “more money at his discretion to be awarded or withheld, rather than agreeing to language that states that our workers will be honored, the virus crushed, and money in workers’ pockets.”
“Despite these unaddressed concerns,” the Democratic leader said, she remains “optimistic” that Friday’s developments will bring them closer to a deal on a relief package.
This story was updated with additional developments on Saturday.