- The Washington Times
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer moved to leverage President Trump’s tweets against Senate Republicans Wednesday, urging them to up their pricetag for additional coronavirus relief.

“We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package,” Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, and Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, said in a joint statement.

“We look forward to hearing from the President’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway with a bill that is equal to the massive health and economic crises gripping our nation,” they added.

The two top Congressional Democrats were referring to a tweet the president sent out earlier Wednesday that both mocked Democrats and urged his party to “go for the much higher numbers” on a COVID-19 relief bill.

Last week Senate Republicans cut their initial $1 trillion nearly in half with a second “skinny” bill that was sunk in a procedural vote by Senate Democrats.

All but one Republican voted to support that offer, a much stronger show of party unity after a significant portion of their conference resisted the $1 trillion proposal.

Democrats, who have rejected any attempt at a stop-gap or slimmed-down proposal, offered to dip down from their $3 trillion offer to around $2.4 trillion, which White House negotiators declined.

A bipartisan compromise proposal, estimated to cost around $2 trillion, was also shot down by top House Democrats on Wednesday, who said the framework was too insufficient.

“I think the Problem Solvers are lower than [what] would be a responsible deal,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said. “But I think their ideas are useful, and hopefully, maybe it’ll encourage our Republican friends to come up from believing that the states and locals [governments]…don’t need help. They do need help.”

Congress has passed nearly $3 trillion in total since the first coronavirus spending package in March, which has added $26.7 trillion to the national debt so far.

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