Pelosi says COVID-19 relief talks with White House remain at impasse

By Gao Pan
  • World
  • Monday, 12 Oct 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that negotiations with the White House over a new COVID-19 relief package remained at an impasse.

"This past week, the President demonstrated very clearly that he has not taken the war against the virus seriously, personally or nationally. This attitude is reflected in the grossly inadequate response we finally received from the Administration on Saturday," Pelosi wrote in a letter to her Democratic colleagues.

"In terms of addressing testing, tracing and treatment, what the Trump Administration has offered is wholly insufficient," Pelosi noted, adding "we remain at an impasse" until these serious issues are resolved.

"However, I remain hopeful that the White House will join us to work toward a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America's families and will do so soon," she said.

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, President Donald Trump blamed the House speaker for a lack of progress on the relief package.

"Republicans want to do it. We're having a hard time with Nancy Pelosi. She thinks she can influence the election," Trump said.

"And I think they're hurting themselves by not doing it. But the Republicans want to do it. We want to do stimulus," said the president.

In a letter to Congress sent Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked lawmakers to first pass legislation allowing the administration to redirect about 130 billion U.S. dollars in unused funding from the Paycheck Protection Program intended for small businesses while negotiations continue on a broader relief package, according to The Washington Post.

But the administration's latest request is unlikely to advance in the Democrats-controlled House, where Pelosi has rejected stand-alone legislation in favor of a comprehensive package to address the economic and health consequences of the pandemic, the report said.

It is not clear whether congressional lawmaker and the Trump administration could bridge their differences and reach an agreement on the relief package before the presidential election on Nov. 3.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has recently urged policymakers to provide more fiscal relief to households and businesses hurt by the pandemic, warning a prolonged slowing economic recovery could trigger typical recessionary dynamics.

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