White House chief of staff Mark Meadows blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the ongoing stimulus check delay on Sunday, in a new interview on NBC News. Meadows continued the trend of the partisan divide as lawmakers struggle to reach a compromise on the aid needed amid the coronavirus pandemic. While Pelosi calls for the two parties to meet in the middle, Meadows criticized her for turning down any offer at all.
"She puts forth a number, suggests that she came down, and yet she's willing to turn down $1.3 trillion of help that goes to the American people because she would rather them have nothing than to give way on what her fantasy might be," Meadows said on Meet the Press. Meadows was referring to his call with Pelosi and other leaders on both sides on Thursday, where Pelosi offered to meet near the middle of their two budgets at $2.2 trillion. Pelosi later told reporters that she is "not budging" on this number, according to a report by Forbes.
"The $1.3 trillion package would also include funding for schools, childcare and hospitals “at levels [Pelosi] would agree with," Meadows said on Sunday. Analysts have speculated that Pelosi and the Democrats are unwilling to give up their biggest requests in the stimulus bill because Republicans like Senate leader Mitch McConnell have said that this will be the last stimulus bill they agree to pass, making it everybody's last chance to cement the programs they want to see in place.
"We have said again and again that we're willing to meet them in the middle — $2.2 trillion. When they're willing to do that, we'll be willing to discuss the particulars," Pelosi said of her call with Meadows.
As much as Republicans want to keep the spending to a minimum, they also need to pass some kind of stimulus package soon. Not only do millions of unemployed Americans need the aid badly, but the issue will definitely play a part in the 2020 election. Last week, McConnel himself said: "We need another one. The country needs another one."
What is frustrating to many Americans is that both sides are agreed on the stimulus check itself — up to $1,200 per individual with similar income thresholds to the last check, and $500 per dependent. However, the U.S. Congress remains divided on issues like unemployment enhancements and liability protections, among other things.
The United States Senate remains on recess until Tuesday, Sept. 8. However, when they return to the session there is still plenty of negotiating to do before a bill can pass. Right now, the earliest Americans can expect to receive a stimulus check is October.