December 15th, 2015

'All he wants is his name on a check': Nancy Pelosi says Democrats are holding out for a bigger stimulus agreement from Trump

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats are holding out for a larger stimulus deal from President Donald Trump, who recently prodded Republicans to back a larger package that includes a second round of direct payments.

In an interview published Monday on the "Sway" podcast hosted by New York Times op-ed writer Kara Swisher, the California Democrat blasted the GOP's opposition to substantial federal spending, charging Trump was only interested in printing his name on stimulus checks.

"We have to meet their needs, not give the president a chance to just say, 'I'm going to put my name on a check, send it out, and don't talk to me about food, rent, first responders, health care workers, the virus, or anything else,'" Pelosi said. "That's all he wants is his name on a check that goes out."

Pelosi dismissed the $1.5 trillion compromise that a group of bipartisan House lawmakers unveiled early last week, and urged trillions of dollars in additional spending to address the pandemic.

"Fourteen million children in America are food insecure and their families as well," Pelosi said. Millions of those families are on the verge of eviction. "None of that is covered in what the Republicans have put forth. The virus needs to be crushed."

Read more: Morgan Stanley says the stock market's future is 'unusually dependent' on another stimulus package — and recommends 5 portfolio moves to make if Congress passes another round

Pelosi's remarks come as Trump recently called on Republicans to pass a larger spending package. He praised the $1.5 trillion plan, which included another round of direct payments, boosted unemployment benefits, and small business aid.

"I want to see people get money," the president said at a White House press conference on Wednesday.

But Republican lawmakers quickly doubled down on their resistance to increase the size of their spending proposals.

"This used to be the White House versus Pelosi up until about now — now the president's coming in and saying we can maybe go to $1.5 trillion," Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley told Bloomberg on Thursday. "He better be careful of that because I don't think that will get through the United States Senate."

Coronavirus relief negotiations between Democrats and the White House have been stalled since early August. Both sides fiercely disagree on the level of spending needed to keep the US economy afloat and which priorities to pursue.

Many economists are urging lawmakers to approve more spending to confront the economic fallout from the pandemic, which threatens to deepen the pain for nearly 29 million Americans still receiving some form of unemployment benefits.

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday may scramble Congress's legislative agenda in the run-up to the election, given the likely fierce Supreme Court confirmation battle to replace her.

Lawmakers still must approve spending bills to keep the government funded past the end of the fiscal year on October 1. But Pelosi told ABC News on Sunday she intended to keep that separate from the nomination showdown.

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