House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had harsh words for her fellow White House negotiators Thursday morning in response to a question about why they can’t at least come together on a new deal for the most vulnerable people in the face of the pandemic.
“Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn for what you just described,” she quipped, earning a soft “jeez” from CNBC’s Jim Cramer.
Pelosi also took the opportunity during the interview to drop a well-timed troll, saying that she “hopes” President Donald Trump carries out his threat to act unilaterally on extending the eviction moratorium. But, she added, it won’t do much good without accompanying financial aid to help people avoid falling down the same hole months later.
“If they extend the moratorium, people won’t have to pay their rent just yet, it will be pushed further down the road unless we get some money for them to compensate for what they have to get,” she said. “And that’s not just for the renters — that’s for the landlords. What good is it to the landlords if you have a moratorium until the end of the year for people to pay their rent unless there’s some money to help pay the rent?”
It was a sharper tone than she took Wednesday evening after she, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met for the seventh time.
“I feel optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” she told reporters then. “But how long that tunnel is remains to be seen.”
Meadows, emerging from the same meeting, expressed less optimism.
“There are no top-line numbers that have been agreed to,” he said. “We continue to be trillions of dollars apart.”
Meadows and Mnuchin have threatened that if a deal isn’t brokered by Friday — an increasingly likely outcome — they’ll walk out of Capitol Hill and over to the White House where Trump is ready to issue a trio of executive orders. As first reported by Politico, the three focus on pausing payroll tax collection, extending the eviction moratorium and redirecting unspent money already allocated by the CARES Act.
It’s not clear if the executive order threat is real or a negotiating gambit to pressure the Democrats, but the administration has been asking agencies to identify unspent money from the omnibus COVID-19 relief bill, per the Washington Post.
The foursome is set to meet again early Thursday evening, almost a week since the $600 per week unemployment insurance benefit used by roughly 30 million Americans expired.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who, as the Democrats have been eager to point out, is not at the negotiating table, has said that he will keep his members in Washington next week despite the scheduled August recess.
“The House has already skipped town,” he said Thursday morning from the Senate floor. “But the Senate won’t adjourn for August unless and until the Democrats demonstrate they will never let an agreement materialize.”