Although she has refused for about six months to push through a smaller aid package that she considered “half a loaf of bread,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now willing to support a bipartisan stimulus package worth less than half of what she has called for so far, thanks in part to the victory of Joe Biden.
” This is a total upheaval: a new president and a vaccine,” the California Democrat told reporters on Friday.
Moreover, Pelosi said she had no scruples about rejecting the Trump administration’s pre-election offer, which was more than double the $900 billion proposal that was gathering steam in Congress and which legislators will hopefully now pass.
“This was not a mistake, it was a decision, and it has put us in a place where we can do the right thing without other, let’s say, considerations in the legislation that we don’t want,” Pelosi said. “The fact is, I am very proud of where we stand.
The political reality is that while Democrats stayed at $2.2 trillion in the run-up to the election and Republicans in the Senate refused to budget more than $500 billion, the Trump administration’s highest offer of $1.9 trillion was only $300 billion short.
By and large, Democrats and government were close because the American people had still not received additional pandemic aid, but no cigar. At the time, Pelosi cited political dissent as a major obstacle.
But the failure to accept the deal and negotiate the differences was a step that the moderate Democrats lamented. Since the elections-in which the House Democrats almost lost control of the lower chamber and their room for maneuver was weakened several moderate democrats have expressed concerns.
“We should have accepted the deal. We should have made the deal, 100 percent, that’s what we should have done. I said it then,” Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a chairman of the nonpartisan problem-solving committee, said in Washington last Newsday. “It is outrageous that we did not. I think it was really foolish… I wish we could have done the deal today.”
Pelosi suggested on Friday that any impending relief would serve as a bridge until Congress could hopefully approve more under the new administration.
The assistant to the majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), reacted partly with disbelief and partly with humor.
“We all know that this argument is more than ridiculous, because we’ve been trying to do this *exact* thing since July, but she and Leader Schumer have denied it every time,” McConnell’s communications director David Popp wrote on Twitter.
He responded with a sarcastic GIF to a reporter quoting Pelosi when she said her earlier refusal to accept a minor bill was not a mistake.
Nevertheless, in recent days on Capitol Hill, optimism has swollen that legislators could finally break the stalemate as they approach an agreement.
The $908 billion proposal has significant cross-party support from senators and the House Problem Solvers Caucus. Both factions are at the forefront of the effort.
Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) backed the measure this week, which is a good starting point for negotiations, as well as several GOP senators who have come on board.
But McConnell is still missing. So far, he has stood firmly behind a bill of less than half a trillion dollars that has been blocked by Democrats on several occasions – even as Republicans stood behind the bipartisan $900 billion proposal, urging him publicly and privately to support it.