- Pelosi blasted the White House's $1.6 trillion spending plan and said it wasn't even "half a loaf."
- "What they're offering is the heel of the loaf," Pelosi said in a Bloomberg TV interview.
- The hefty price tag from the White House could be a gamble, given many Senate Republicans oppose spending large sums of federal money that could swell the national debt.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore into the White House's $1.6 trillion stimulus package, saying it doesn't do enough to address the twin economic and public health crises stemming from the pandemic.
"This isn't half a loaf. What they're offering is the heel of the loaf," Pelosi said in a Bloomberg TV interview. "It's no use going into a negotiation just saying you'll take the path of least resistance."
The California Democrat brought up a new area of contention between Democrats and the Trump administration: the child tax credit, which reduces the taxes owed by families with kids 17 and under. House Democrats are seeking to give people with children the option of receiving a modest monthly federal payment regardless of income.
Pelosi told Bloomberg the White House excluded all funding for the credit, which 40 million families claim every year.
Earlier in the day, she maintained she was cautiously optimistic about striking a bigger spending deal with the White House. Democrats rolled out a $2.2 trillion spending plan that includes $600 federal unemployment benefits, another wave of $1,200 stimulus checks, and aid to states and small businesses.
"We're hopeful that we can reach agreement because the needs of the American people are so great," Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill. "But there has to be a recognition that it takes money to do that."
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed the administration put forward a $1.6 trillion proposal in coronavirus relief negotiations with Democrats in a press conference on Thursday. She called it "a good proposal" that carried larger spending levels than what Republicans unveiled before.
But McEnany said Pelosi is "not being serious" with her insistence on robust spending. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi have been in talks for five days straight.
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The White House's plan could be a tough sell among Republicans
The hefty price tag from the White House could be a gamble, given many Senate Republicans oppose spending large sums of federal money that could swell the national debt.
Yet pressure has risen on lawmakers to strike a deal before they adjourn next week until after the election. Millions of Americans are out of work and struggling to afford food and rent. And many economists are urging Congress to authorize additional spending to keep individuals and businesses afloat.
Both the Democratic-led House and GOP-controlled Senate have to approve identical relief legislation and send it to Trump's desk so it becomes law.
Key elements of the White House's plan include:
- $300 billion for another round of direct payments to taxpayers.
- $300 billion for $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits through January 1.
- $250 billion for aid to state and local governments.
- $175 billion in health spending, coronavirus testing and tracing.
- $160 billion for small business aid through the Paycheck Protection Program.
- $150 billion for education and aiding school reopenings.
- $100 billion for restaurants in dire financial straits.
There are areas of overlapping agreement between Democrats and the Trump administration. Both sides agree on including stimulus checks in another relief package, as well as providing significant money to help small businesses and schools.
Still, big differences remain. The administration is seeking to implement a federal unemployment benefit that's $200-per-week less than what Democrats want, as well as provide less in federal aid to cash-strapped states.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tore into the Democratic plan on Wednesday, characterizing it as outlandish. "We're very, very far apart on a deal," McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill.
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