Ongoing stimulus relief talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin again appear to be faltering. On Thursday afternoon, Mnuchin publicly criticized Pelosi's "all or none approach" to the negotiations, alleging that he learned of a letter the house speaker sent to him about the stimulus talks "in the press."
In a tweet, Mnuchin he "woke up this morning and read" Pelosi's letter "in the press." That letter, sent Thursday, demanded a response to Democrats' most recent offer and "new compromise language regarding whether the Administration will agree to the national, science-based strategy for testing, tracing, and treatment." In the letter, Pelosi said that the White House's responses "are critical for our negotiations to continue," and cited "the American people are suffering, and they want us to come to an agreement to save lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy."
I woke up this morning and read @SpeakerPelosi’s letter to me in the press. Enclosed is my response. Her ALL OR NONE approach is hurting hard-working Americans who need help NOW! pic.twitter.com/tarhPwYmkv— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) October 29, 2020
In his own response, Mnuchin offered his own criticisms, accusing Pelosi of sending the letter as "a political stunt." He also said Pelosi's letter "inaccurately describes the status of our current negotiations," forcing him to feel "obligated to publicly respond." According to Mnuchin, and contradicting the house speaker's remarks, the White House has accepted Pelosi's proposal "on dollars and language" for coronavirus testing. He also said that the administration has "provided both written and oral detailed comments" on contact tracing. These two topics have been sticking points amid the negotiations. Mnuchin, writing that "we provided you a reasonable response that agreed to the funding level but included more authority to the states," explained that he has worked with other agencies and committee chairs on a number of items, including small business relief, funding for the Postal Service, and rental assistance.
"While you accuse the Administration of holding up negotiations, you refuse to bring to the floor of the House stand-alone legislation to support Airline workers, additional Paycheck Protection Program payments to small businesses, and additional Direct Payments that we can fund using already approved money that we have not spent," Mnuchin wrote. "Your ALL OR NONE approach is hurting hard-working Americans who need help NOW."
While Pelosi has not publicly responded to Mnuchin's letter, her deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said on Twitter that the White House has still not given Democrats "meaningful responses in the areas the Speaker outlined." Hammill wrote that "these responses are needed so that talks can advance to deliver coronavirus relief as soon as possible," adding that "it is disappointing that the White House wasted time on this letter instead of meaningful responses to meet the needs of the American people."