Stimulus Checks: White House Chief of Staff Claims They've Reached out to Restart Talks

Negotiations for a second stimulus check bill have been stalled for weeks, but now White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows claims that Trump administration officials have reached out to Democrats to restart talks. During a recent interview with Politico, Meadows stated, "I actually had my staff reach out again yesterday to Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi's chief of staff to say that we haven't heard anything from her." He added, "The president wants [a deal], but I'm not optimistic."

Meadows went on to place blame on Pelosi for a deal not having been reached already. "It's really been Speaker Pelosi really driving this train as a conductor more so than really anybody," Meadows said. "And I think privately she says she wants a deal and publicly she says she wants a deal, but when it comes to dealing with Republicans and the administration, we haven't seen a lot of action." However, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hamill, told Fox News that Meadows' staff only sent a text message asking if Pelosi's team had the correct phone number and did not directly ask about negotiations.

"Democrats have compromised in these negotiations," Hamill went on to say. "We offered to come down $1 trillion if the White House would come up $1 trillion. We welcome the White House back to the negotiating table but they must meet us halfway." Notably, Meadows is not the only member of the Trump administration who has blamed Democrats for holding up coronavirus relief bill negotiations, as President Trump himself has as well.

"I have directed [Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin] to get ready to send direct payments ($3,400 for family of four) to all Americans," Trump wrote in a tweet earlier this month, then adding, "DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING THIS UP!" In another tweet, the U.S. president wrote, "I am ready to have @USTreasury and @SBA send additional PPP payments to small businesses that have been hurt by the ChinaVirus. DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING THIS UP!" At this time, there do not appear to be any concrete plans for the negotiations to resume, but once a bill is settled on, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he will support it, which means that it could be signed into law very quickly once it is finalized.