House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Thursday that Congressional Democrats are sticking to their $2 trillion-plus coronavirus relief demands, and has blamed the GOP for refusing to compromise amid the ongoing impasse.
"We're not budging," Pelosi told Capitol Hill reporters. "They have to move. They have to move."
(Or, they don't and President Trump will authorize stimulus extensions until the election)
"Why should there be a bill that has far less [of] what the public needs?" Pelosi added. "We have that responsibility, and they're just going to have to come up with more money."
The comments came just hours before Pelosi was scheduled to speak by phone with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — the first conversation between the sides since the talks broke down on Aug. 7.
That day, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had offered to reduce their initial $3.4 trillion demand by $1 trillion, but only if Republicans were willing to hike their opening bid of $1.1 trillion by the same $1 trillion — a proposal the GOP leaders quickly rejected.
Pelosi warned Thursday that if the Republicans' position remains unchanged her phone call with Meadows won't last long. -The Hill
"That could be a very short conversation if they're not ready to meet in the middle," Pelosi added.
According to The Hill, Democratic leaders say they had a much easier time negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before Mark Meadows joined the conversation.
Meadows, a former congressman from North Carolina, had had no problem walking away from funding bills during his years in office - even when they were endorsed by members of his own party.
Pelosi lashed out at her former colleague on Thursday, characterizing him as 'Mnuchin's staffer.'
"This is a conversation only to respect the fact that [he is] the president's representative — not even the lead negotiator, that would be Mnuchin," Pelosi said - before the 80-year-old lawmaker forgot Meadows' name. "We consider whatever his name is — what's his name? — Meadows there staffing Mr. Mnuchin. And if they are willing to meet us in the middle then we can sit down and talk."
Speaker Pelosi on Mark Meadows ahead of their call on COVID relief: "This is a conversation only to respect the fact that the president's representative, not even the lead negotiator, what's his name—Meadows— there is staffing Mr. Mnuchin." https://t.co/ppqOId32lO pic.twitter.com/l2fVEMG0ms— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 27, 2020
"So this is: you called me, I'm returning your call. Are you ready to bring much more money to the table?"
Meadows and Pelosi have a call scheduled for 2:30 p.m. according to The Hill.