Kayleigh McEnany says Nancy Pelosi ‘not interested’ in COVID-19 stimulus deal – New York Post

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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday said Nancy Pelosi doesn’t actually want to pass a COVID-19 stimulus bill, citing the House speaker’s rejection of a centrist compromise.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday the House would remain in session until a deal passes, but McEnany noted that Democratic leaders denounced a proposal from the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.

“Everyone in DC seems to want to make a deal except Nancy Pelosi — she wants to play politics. Look at the letter she wrote condemning the Problem Solvers group proposal that was a $1.5 trillion plan,” McEnany said at a White House press briefing.

The Problem Solvers Caucus, comprised of 25 House Republicans and 25 Democrats including New York Reps. Max Rose and Tom Suozzi, this week proposed $500 billion in aid for state and local governments, about half of what Democratic leaders want.

The centrist caucus’s $1.52 trillion proposal is “something that we would entertain and look at, but Nancy Pelosi immediately decried that proposal in a letter because she’s not interested in a deal,” McEnany said.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany
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McEnany was referring to a statement from Democratic committee chairs under Pelosi’s control that said “the Problem Solvers’ proposal leaves too many needs unmet.”

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill directed The Post to a joint statement from Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) laying blame on “Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people.”

The White House jab at Pelosi follows President Trump’s tweeted encouragement for Republicans to “Go for the much higher numbers” of spending on stimulus because it “all comes back to the USA anyway.”

McEnany said Wednesday that Trump was referring to his desire for Republicans to include another round of direct stimulus checks in relief legislation.

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a “skinny” Republican stimulus bill costing about $500 billion, saying it didn’t do enough. That bill did not include direct payments.

The rejected Republican bill included a $300 weekly unemployment subsidy, $105 billion for schools, $20 billion for farmers, $10 billion for the US Postal Service and $10 billion for child care assistance. It also included $47 billion for vaccines and testing and $258 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which gives small businesses forgivable loans for retaining staff who aren’t needed due to reduced demand.

The Republican bill also included liability protections for businesses — a key priority for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that Democratic leaders strongly oppose.

Democrats, meanwhile, want to renew a $600 weekly unemployment supplement that expired in July. Republicans oppose doing so because some workers would get more than 100 percent of their pre-pandemic pay.

Republicans also oppose Democrats’ proposal to send nearly $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments. House Democrats in May passed a $3 trillion relief bill that contained state aid, as well as funds for renters and hazard pay for health workers.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday morning told reporters, “I think probably the biggest obstacle continues to be the amount of money that is outlined for state and local help.”

“Even in the Problem Solvers Caucus initiative, it was some $500 billion, but there was a caveat there: that was based on real revenue losses, and that caveat gives me hope that if we’re willing to look at real facts and real losses that hopefully we can get to something that actually makes sense,” Meadows said.

Amid the gridlock, Trump in August signed an executive order allowing a $400 weekly boost in unemployment insurance payments if states chip in $100, but those funds are almost exhausted. Other Trump executive orders issued last month restored a federal ban on evictions, proposed a temporary payroll tax cut and extended deferral of college loan payments.

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