Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin took the unusual step of issuing a statement to contradict House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that Democrats are eager to negotiate a coronavirus deal and relayed that desire to the White House in a Wednesday phone call with negotiators.
“Earlier today, Speaker Pelosi and I spoke by phone. Her statement is not an accurate reflection of our conversation,” Mnuchin said in the statement.
Mnuchin said Pelosi told him Democrats would resume the now-stalled talks only if the White House agreed to a proposal worth at least $2 trillion, which is double the cost of the GOP proposal unveiled in July.
“The Democrats have no interest in negotiating,” Mnuchin said.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement earlier Wednesday characterizing the state of the negotiations.
“An overture was made by Secretary Mnuchin to meet and he made clear that his televised comments from earlier today still stand: the White House is not budging from their position concerning the size and scope of a legislative package,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, and Schumer, a New York Democrat, said.
Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who are negotiating on behalf of the White House, have said they are willing to increase their $1 trillion proposal but are not going to agree to $2 trillion.
It’s not clear where the Democrats stand on the cost of their plan.
Pelosi said last week the true cost of the Democrats’ legislation would amount to $3.7 trillion unless the GOP agreed to eliminate some of the 2017 tax cuts, which would reduce the cost to $3.4 trillion. Pelosi has repeatedly said Democrats are willing to drop their cost by $1 trillion if Republicans would increase their proposal by $1 trillion.
The two sides stopped negotiating last week after days of fruitless closed-door talks. President Trump on Saturday issued multiple executive orders to extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits, implement a payroll tax holiday, and extend a moratorium on rental evictions and student loan payments.
Author: Susan Ferrechio
Source: Washington Examiner: Mnuchin accuses Pelosi of misrepresenting their phone call