Pelosi, Schumer Say They’re Still Willing to Negotiate on Relief Deal
PoliticsJack Phillips

Top Democrats on Sunday took issue with President Donald Trump’s executive order to address the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic after talks between Republicans and Democrats broke down last week.

“We have to reach an agreement,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told “Fox News Sunday.”

“We’ve got to meet halfway. We’ve got to do the best we can for the American people. But what they’re putting forth does not meet that standard,” she said following stalled negotiations.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) seemed to suggest that more actions need to be taken despite the executive order.

“We have this huge crisis, the largest economic crisis since the depression, the greatest health crisis since the pandemic,” Schumer told ABC News on Sunday. He added, “The event at the country club is what Trump does, a big show but it doesn’t do anything, as the American people look at these executive orders they don’t come close to doing the job.”

Schumer again called for the continuation of $600-per-week unemployment benefits, which were authorized in March’s CARES Act. Trump’s executive order was a compromise between Senate Republicans’ $200-per-week plan and the CARES Act’s plan, meaning that $400 in federal payments will be sent to unemployed Americans if it is implemented.

“On the unemployment benefit, first, the $600 a week has been very successful, it’s kept millions of people out of poverty, pumped more money into the economy, consumer spending is probably the best thing in the economy,” Schumer, who was one of the lead negotiators with the White House, told the news outlet.

And Pelosi, another negotiator, said that funding for state and local governments is needed while describing the executive orders as “absurdly unconstitutional.”

These entities, she argued, “have expenses from the coronavirus. They have lost revenue. Because of that, they are firing health care workers, first responders, teachers, and the rest, sanitation, transportation because they don’t have the money.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) listens
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) listens as President Donald Trump speaks at the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton on Feb. 6, 2020. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

“Second of all, everything is left out—our assistance to the schools, feeding the hungry, helping people who are going to be evicted. The president’s moratorium, he just did a study to look at a moratorium. Something’s wrong. Either the president doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Clearly, his aides don’t know what he is talking about, or something’s very wrong here about meeting the needs of the American people at this time,” she told CNN on Sunday.

Last week, Pelosi and Schumer said they proposed a $2 trillion compromise with the White House and Republicans. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters later that it is “a non-starter” before officials indicated that Trump would seek an executive order to remedy the crisis.

Trump’s executive orders also intend to extend a moratorium on student loan payments and consider ways to deal with foreclosure and evictions.

Some have suggested that the orders could be challenged in court.

But Trump told CBS News last week that he believes it “is going to go very rapidly through the courts.”

Despite the criticism from both sites, Trump told reporters that he hopes the White House “can do something” with top Democrats “on a later date” to address the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus-related economic crisis.