Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has reportedly refused the latest offer from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, marking the latest impasse in the ongoing negotiations over a proposed second stimulus package. As Pelosi told CNBC, it appears that a compromise isn't expected to be reached anytime soon.
Mnuchin spoke to the House Speaker over the phone on Wednesday, a source told the outlet. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement that signaled they wouldn't be restarting discussions following Mnuchin's rejection of their offer on the total cost of the stimulus. The Democrats have proposed a figure close to $3 trillion, which was the price tag of the HEROES Act passed by the House in May. Mnuchin had previously stated that the HEALS Act would be capped at $1 trillion. The CARES Act, by comparison, cost just over $2 trillion.
"We have again made clear to the Administration that we are willing to resume negotiations once they start to take this process seriously," the statement added. Pelosi had previously spoken with MSNBC, where she said that the two sides were "miles apart." She also said there was "a chasm" between her party and Republicans "because they do not share our values."
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to burden Democrats with the blame. In a tweet, McConnell took a shot at Pelosi and her party, claiming they were "taking our health system hostage" and that their refusal to budge on "non-COVID-related, liberal demands" was preventing funding for "testing, treatments, or vaccines." This statement echoed McConnell's previous criticisms over the HEROES Act as well.
The current negotiations fell apart on Friday after Pelosi, Schumer, Mnuchin and White House Chief of Statt Mark Meadows failed to find common ground on several key issues. President Donald Trump has since signed an executive order to provide some aspects of the stimulus package, including unemployment benefits. While there have been bipartisan calls that Trump's order is unconstitutional, there are additional concerns that states won't be able to implement these systems for several weeks, which could lead to even more delays.
Of course, there's also the issue of Meadows being on vacation this week, which has currently stalled any progress on a relief bill. Meadows had previously told reporters that he was "extremely doubtful" that any progress would be made, despite some progress being made in late July.