Pelosi: If White House, GOP agree to $2 trillion of stimulus 'then we can sit down at the table'

"When they're ready to do that we'll sit down," the House Speaker said. "We are miles apart in our values."

Updated: August 14, 2020 - 3:24pm

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that negotiations over a fourth coronavirus stimulus package can resume only when Republicans are ready to spend at least $2 trillion.

Pelosi was asked for her reaction to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying after his phone call with Pelosi on Wednesday that Democrats aren't interested in negotiating.

"I think something was wrong with his statement," Pelosi said at a press conference.

Pelosi told reporters that she reiterated to Mnuchin that Democrats would come down from their $3.4-$3.7 trillion HEROES Act and meet Senate Republicans in the middle.

"When they're ready to do that we'll sit down," she said. "We are miles apart in our values."

The HEROES Act passed the Democrat-led House in May. The GOP-led Senate has not passed a fourth COVID-19 stimulus package.

Pelosi emphasized that $2 trillion is the magic number for negotiations to restart.

"We said $2 trillion, and then we can sit down at the table," Pelosi said. 

Pelosi was asked when she plans to speak with Mnuchin again.

"I don't know. When they come in with $2 trillion," she said. "But we're not sitting down at the table to validate what they have proposed, because it does not meet the needs of the American people."

Pelosi also criticized President Trump for saying he does not support $25 billion of increased funding for the U.S. Postal Service heading into the November election. She referred to the Postal Service as an "all-American" institution that sent more than a billion prescriptions last year. 

"You probably know of people writing to Santa or birthday cards being exchanged and the rest," she said. "They've not really ever liked the Postal Service because they always want to find a way to make money off of something, and they want to privatize it."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued on Monday that Democratic leaders view the coronavirus pandemic as a political "opportunity" to "bail out" states such as New Jersey, adding that Republicans are willing to support another coronavirus stimulus plan that includes funding for other areas. 

Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, said on Wednesday that Trump's executive orders on coronavirus relief don't go far enough and urged Congress to make a deal.

"I think he had the authority to do what he did, but he'd probably be the first to admit that the authority he has doesn't solve the problem the way it needs to be solved," said Blunt, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. "It's time that the Congress stepped up and did its job."

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