White House chief of staff: Pelosi’s ‘not negotiating in good faith’
He added that Pelosi, D-Calif., would “rather spend 0 than $1.6 trillion” and that Americans will not “accept that.”
On Tuesday, President Trump, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, said he instructed Republicans to pause negotiations on a coronavirus stimulus package until after the election.
He accused Pelosi of pushing for a $2.4 trillion package that would act as a bailout to “poorly run, high crime, Democrat States.”
On Wednesday, Meadows blamed Pelosi for the stalled talks, saying she “continues to throw out all kinds of reasons for the failure on the negotiations other than looking in the mirror.” He stressed that “she’s failed to budge.”
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump called on Congress to pass additional coronavirus relief measures, appearing to reverse course from his announcement hours earlier.
“The president has already been on the phone this morning talking to [Treasury] Secretary [Steve] Mnuchin,” Meadows said. “The secretary and I have been talking about what we could do with stand-alone bills to help airlines, small businesses and the American people with stimulus checks.
“So hopefully we can convince Speaker Pelosi to do something on a stand-alone basis,” he continued.
Trump’s earlier decision to pull the plug on negotiations jolted Wall Street and sent stocks tumbling.
On Wednesday Trump tweeted, “The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business. Both of these will be fully paid for with unused funds from the Cares Act. Have this money. I will sign now!”
Less than 30 minutes later, Trump tweeted, “If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?”
Trump reiterated his openness to sending a fresh round of $1,200 checks on Wednesday morning, calling on Pelosi to “move fast.”
Democrats have largely resisted efforts to pass piecemeal relief legislation.
On Wednesday, Meadows said that members of the Trump administration and Republicans have continued to have conversations with Democrats regarding the next coronavirus relief bill “that don’t lead anywhere.”
He added that the numbers Democrats are pushing “are just incredibly high in terms of bailouts for states, blue-run states.”
“The numbers they’re suggesting are much higher than what the real need is,” he continued.
As previously reported by Fox Business, Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion revised HEROES Act last week, in a largely symbolic move because Mnuchin said that Republicans would not approve a $2.2 trillion package.
Mnuchin noted that President Trump instructed Republicans to come up from their original negotiating point of $1 trillion – and the Treasury Secretary suggested that the number being discussed was somewhere in the “neighborhood” of $1.5 trillion.
Meadows pointed out on Wednesday that Mnuchin and Trump “have offered $1.6 trillion” and “were willing to look at a little bit more than that” to help small businesses, schools, the airline industry and “a number of the other places that are hurting right now,” but Pelosi “continues to say that it’s not enough.”
Meadows added that “there comes a point where you understand that the other side is just playing politics.”
“The real thing is Speaker Pelosi didn’t want those checks to go out to the American people before November 3rd,” he continued. “She felt like it would help the president and so she’s been negotiating in that manner.”
Meadows went on to say, “We’re still willing to be engaged, but I’m not optimistic for a comprehensive deal.”
He explained that he is, however, “optimistic that there’s about 10 things that we can do on a piecemeal basis if the speaker is willing to put it before her members.”
Fox News’ Megan Henney and Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.