Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

Pelosi rejects Trump COVID-19 aid offer, dimming hopes of quick deal

FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi departs her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected President Donald Trump’s latest offer on COVID-19 stimulus on Tuesday, in the latest sign that a bipartisan deal on coronavirus relief remains unlikely ahead of the November election.

In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi laid out what Democrats view as the shortcomings of a $1.8 trillion White House stimulus proposal that has also met resistance from Republicans in the U.S. Senate who say it is too large.

“Tragically, the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand,” Pelosi said. She also described the offer made last week by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as “one step forward, two steps back.”

But Pelosi said she remained hopeful for a deal and appeared to leave the door open to further talks with Mnuchin: “Significant changes must be made to remedy the Trump proposal’s deficiencies. Updates will continue.”

The letter made it clear that Democrats view the White House offer as deficient on state and local government aid, COVID-19 testing and tracing, rental assistance, worker safety, child care, relief for small employers and other areas.

“The president only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up,” the top Democrat in Congress wrote. “The president’s attitude is shameful, when the need for immediate and meaningful action could not be more urgent.”

House Democrats formally received the latest White House offer over the weekend, Pelosi said, days after Trump withdrew from negotiations and then decided to resume talks.

With their latest proposal facing resistance from both Democrats and Republicans, Trump administration officials on Sunday called on Congress to pass a stripped-down stimulus bill.

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