House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a rare occurrence, subtly voiced her improvement of President Donald Trump's latest outlook on stimulus relief measures. After the president on Wednesday encouraged Republican lawmakers to support a larger stimulus package with a second round of stimulus checks, Pelosi, in a statement, said the remarks were "encouraging" amid the current stalemate on Capitol Hill.
The president had first made the comments on Twitter, calling on Republicans to "go for the much higher numbers," despite the GOP in recent weeks and months having largely stuck to a $1 trillion price tag, fearing an increase to the national debt. Speaking at the White House later that evening, Trump expanded on those comments, expressing support of a newly introduced bipartisan proposal with a $1.5 trillion price tag. The president, according to The Washington Post, told reporters "I like the larger amount," adding that while some "Republicans disagree," he believes he "can convince them to go along with that because I like the larger number. I want to see people get money."
Democrats are “heartless”. They don’t want to give STIMULUS PAYMENTS to people who desperately need the money, and whose fault it was NOT that the plague came in from China. Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!).— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2020
Shortly after those comments were made, Pelosi, in a joint statement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said she was "encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to 'go for the much higher numbers' in the next coronavirus relief package." Citing the rising death toll, which is expected to reach 200,000 by the end of the week, the statement added that "the lives and livelihoods of the American people depend on Republicans abandoning their obsession with doing as little as possible while the coronavirus rages through our nation."
Although Pelosi early this week had struck down the idea of negotiating directly with the president, claiming that it would not be a "good use of time" as Trump will "say something and then it doesn't really happen,""Pelosi kept the door open to restarting negotiators with the White House. She said that she and Schumer "look forward to hearing from the President's negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway with a bill that is equal to the massive health and economic crises gripping our nation."
It remains unclear if the president's support of a larger stimulus package will break the stalemate that has been ongoing since the beginning of August. Democrats, who initially proposed a more than $3 trillion bill, have indicated a willingness to drop the price tag significantly to reach a deal, though such remarks have so far led to no progress in stimulus discussions.