Pelosi: Stimulus proposal 'not everything we want' but 'help is on the way from Joe Biden'
It’s been 202 days since the House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act, and 64 days since the House passed their compromise $2.2 trillion bill, both of which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to consider. However, for the first time since at least before the election, Pelosi and McConnell have spoken directly to each other, following Pelosi’s concession to cut her demands by more than half.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters in her regular Friday briefing that she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had agreed to include new coronavirus relief funding in a must-pass omnibus spending bill, using the $908 billion package senators are currently hashing out as a basis. As of yet, there’s not any legislative text, but it will include some of the essentials: new unemployment assistance; money for vaccine distribution; and at least some state and local government assistance. There is time, Pelosi insisted, to get the omnibus bill done by next Friday when government funding under the current continuing resolution runs out and needs to get to agreement on the stimulus package.
Pressed by CNN’s Manu Raju on whether it was a mistake to wait months to compromise on the much larger plans she was pushing before the election, she responded: “No. I’m gonna tell you something, just don’t characterize what we did before as a mistake as preface to your question if you want an answer.” Pelosi has been taking heat from some Democrats in the House for not agreeing to Republican terms prior to the election, so got a little testy here. “It was not a mistake, it was a decision that has taken us to a place where we can do the right thing without, should we say, other considerations in the legislation that we don’t want.” She also pointed out that it’s a stopgap until there’s a new White House. “President-elect Biden has said that this package would ‘just at best, just a start’ and that’s how we see it as well. It’s less money, but over a shorter period time. And we need to do it to save lives and livelihoods with the hope that much more help is on the way.
“Finally, we have a new dynamic, a new president in a little more than a month committed to crushing the virus… and more than one successful vaccine to make all the difference in the world,” Pelosi said. It’s “not everything we want—don’t get me wrong. I don’t want the Republicans to think that this is a dream come true—it is not, but it’s a path forward.