Completing the coronavirus deal, “depends on the administration,” she said.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Pelosi explained that a agreement needs to be reached in the next 48 hours in order for a stimulus bill to be signed by President Donald Trump before Nov. 3, but put the onus to complete the deal on the White House, saying its success “depends on the administration.”
“Where we have agreement, we don’t have agreement in the language yet, but I’m hopeful,” the speaker said, but noted her disagreement with the administration’s removal of some language regarding virus “testing and tracing.”
Pelosi told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos Sunday that they had reached a consensus on some subjects, but that the strength of the language used in the measure was at issue. She said that the administration wanted to change stronger words like “shall” and “requirements” to more flexible terms like “may” and “recommendations.”
“The difference amounts to this, if you think of it this simple way: When you say ‘may’ you’re giving the president a slush fund,” the speaker said. “He may do this, he may grant, he may withhold.”
In order to bridge the remaining gaps, Stephanopoulos asked Pelosi if she would go directly to Trump, with whom she has had no contact during the pandemic.
“You haven’t spoken to the president in over a year. Are you willing to pick up the phone to close a deal to get this done?” pressed Stephanopoulos.
“This is not a casual conversation,” Pelosi said. “This is about a meeting of the head of the first branch of government, the legislative branch, and the president. If there is a purpose, if it — if there is a stipulation of trying to get something done, then perhaps we take this to that place when we can’t solve other problems.”
Negotiations have stalled and then started up again in the months since the CARES Act passed in March.
In May, the House passed the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion relief package that did not progress in the Senate. In September, the Senate voted on a $1 trillion Republican proposal but Democrats voted down the measure and encouraged the administration to meet them halfway.
However on “This Week,” Pelosi noted that the impasse was not solely related to the legislation’s price tag.
“The testing. The tracing. The treatment. The mask-wearing. The separation. The sanitation. And all that goes with it,” she said, later adding that she wanted more specific details on both national and state strategies and a guarantee that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would “provide guidance.”
Trump’s messaging on the package has been inconsistent. He tweeted earlier this month that he was stopping negotiations on the relief package, only to reverse course later that night. Then, during a NBC town hall Thursday, he said that he thinks he can get Republicans on board for a larger relief package, but he had not “asked them to because I can’t get through Nancy Pelosi.”
On “This Week,” Stephanopoulos also asked Pelosi about the Supreme Court confirmation process for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, noting that she previously alluded to strategies to halt Barrett’s elevation to the court — something that appears increasingly unlikely.
“Last time we spoke, you said Democrats had arrows in their quiver to block this nomination. But she seems on a path of confirmation right now.” Stephanopoulos said. “Is this a done deal or is there still something Democrats can do to stop it?
“Well, we’ll see … I’m not in the Senate,” the speaker said. “What I’m talking about is how we win this election, because we have to offset … whatever this court may do.”
Pelosi also commented on Trump’s continued rhetoric aimed at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whose strict virus lock-down measures have led to threats of violence against her, including a recently foiled plot to kidnap her. The president joined supporters Sunday in saying Whitmer should be “locked up” over her decisions during the pandemic.
“The president has to realize that the words of the president of the United States weigh a ton,” Pelosi said. “And, in our political dialogue, to inject fear tactics into it, especially a woman governor and her family, is so irresponsible.”