Coronavirus relief talks stuck on scope of aid

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who spoke at the press briefing Friday with Meadows, suggested that Republicans aren’t ready to give up on a short-term package.

“We have a very specific focus right now, and it’s not this comprehensive plan, whether it be the HEROES Act that Democrats proposed that wasn’t serious, or the HEALS Act,” she said. HEROES refers to the House bill passed in May and HEALS refers to the package of eight Senate Republican bills. “That narrow focus is this: that Americans are about to lose their unemployment insurance and this White House, this chief of staff, this president, this secretary of the Treasury have offered several iterations” for extending the benefits.

Pelosi and Schumer have also expressed skepticism that Republicans are prepared to start compromising on a broader package, saying they don’t understand the gravity of the economic impact of the pandemic and how big and broad a package needs to be to address those issues.

“The person you’re negotiating with has to want something,” Pelosi said. “You have to think they might want something for the American people. So far, so bad.”

Pelosi noted that Republicans have shown no interest in providing any money for state and local – Democrats want nearly $1 trillion – food assistance, election administration or the Postal Service, all of which are top Democratic priorities.