White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday that Congress and the Trump administration are unlikely to come to an agreement on a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package.
“We are still ready to cooperate, but I do not have high hopes for a comprehensive agreement,” Meadows told Fox News. “I hope there are about 10 things that we can do in stages.”
The administration favors a phased approach, Meadows said. He did not specify exactly what issues the administration prefers to tackle, but repeated the president’s words that he is ready to support certain legislative acts to help American airlines and small businesses, as well as provide benefits to individuals.
Meadows said Tuesday that the administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have reached an agreement on about 10 points that the administration is “ready to consider” if Pelosi agrees to a “phased” approach.
Pelosi replied that she would prefer to prepare a comprehensive package, rather than separate bills. She said on Tuesday that the House of Representatives could approve additional measures despite Trump’s refusal to continue negotiations.
Trump on Tuesday called the Democratic proposals unacceptable and said he instructed the administration to suspend negotiations until the election. In a series of tweets, the president proposed a series of separate bills. “If they send me a separate bill of benefits ($ 1,200 each), our wonderful citizens will receive them immediately. I am ready to sign it even now. Do you hear, Nancy? ” – he wrote.
The President also expressed his readiness to support bills to allocate billions of dollars to airlines and small businesses.
Pelosi strongly condemned Trump’s decision to suspend negotiations. “The withdrawal from the coronavirus talks demonstrates that President Trump is unwilling to defeat the virus,” she said in a statement. – He demonstrates his contempt for science and for our heroes – medical workers, emergency response workers, sanitary and transport services, food industry, teachers. He refuses to donate money to workers unless his name is written on the check. “
Trump wrote in one of his tweets that Democrats are “playing games”: “They only want to help democratic cities and states where chaos and crime reign. They were not originally interested in helping the workers. “
Trump’s rival Joe Biden, in turn, said that this president is not interested in helping Americans: “Even if you lose your job, if your business is closed, if your child’s school closes, if there are layoffs in your city, Donald Trump decided today that none of this matters to him. “