Both chambers of Congress may now be back in session, but Capitol Hill is no closer to striking a deal regarding another stimulus package than it had been when negotiations collapsed in early August. Speaking Monday on MSNBC, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi struck down the idea of negotiating directly with President Donald Trump in an effort to overcome the stalemate and strike a deal more quickly, as she feels doing so would not be a "good use of time."
The House Speaker told host Craig Melvin that instead of speaking directly with the president, she speaks with "his representatives," whom the president "says that they speak for him." Doubling down on her remarks that she does not find the president to be reliable, she said that she doesn't "find it a good use of time" to speak directly to Trump, explaining that her "experience with the president has been that it hasn't been on the level." She added that Trump will "say something and then it doesn't really happen," and so, "in the interest of time, we'll work with who he sends over."
According to The Hill, Pelosi and Trump have not had an extended, face-to-face conversation since October of 2019, when they met during a meeting at the White House regarding the president's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria. Since then, no in-depth discussions have occurred, and the two have not even been in the same room together since February at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Instead, amid efforts to bring forth more relief amid the pandemic, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have been at the negotiation table with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Those discussions, prompted by the introduction of the HEALS Act, however, have led nowhere and have entirely collapsed, prompting accusations from Trump that Pelosi and Schumer are entirely at fault for holding up another stimulus package. Just last week, the president said that Pelosi and Schumer "don't want to make a deal because they think it's good for politics if they don't make a deal" and claimed that he was "taking the high road" by not meeting with them. Pelosi, meanwhile, has called Trump's remarks "pathetic."
The refusal to meet with one another comes as the stalemate on Capitol Hill continues, prompting growing concerns that the American people will be left without much-needed relief as certain provisions move closer to expiring. As a result, some lawmakers have suggested that another stimulus package will not be possible until after the November election.