Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Thursday of having no desire to do a stimulus package that would boost the U.S. economy and send critical relief to Americans.
“You know, I’ve said and I will continue to say, if you want to get the stimulus done quickly, if she really wanted to get it done, just call everybody back and say that we’re staying here seven days a week, 24 hours a day, until we get this thing done. I guarantee you the stimulus would be done in a few days,” he told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.
“The problem is, the speaker just doesn’t want to do it. And she didn’t want to do it in conjunction with the other bill that we did when we were here. She doesn’t want to do it in general, it seems. And that’s really disappointing,” said Van Drew.
The White House has been making overtures to Pelosi to restart stimulus talks aborted since August 7 but she won’t budge. Both parties want to include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks but they have not reached an agreement on the enhanced unemployment benefits jobless Americans would receive.
Chief of staff Mark Meadows told Politico on Wednesday his staff reached out to her on Tuesday as economists express alarm over the contracting U.S. economy. “We haven’t heard anything from her, and I don’t anticipate we’ll actually get a phone call,” Meadows said.
He even made an unannounced trip to the Speaker’s office to try to meet with her but he was told she was busy. CNN reported that Meadows and Pelosi are expected to hold a call Thursday.
Economists contend that renewing the expired $600 enhanced unemployment benefits could shore up the economy and the U.S. risks a prolonged recession if Congress doesn’t provide $1 trillion to $2 trillion in relief funds this fall.
Meadows told Politico he expects Pelosi to wait until later in September when the stopgap continuing resolution to prevent an Oct. 1 government shutdown comes up for a vote so she can have maximum leverage. Congress has until Sept. 30 to propose a budget plan for fiscal year 2021.
Van Drew told Bartiromo “we want to bring this economy back, we want to help people that are having obviously problems. We want to work with business and we want to have another draw on the PPP. There’s a lot of things that need to be done here on a lot of good things that would help with the COVID problem as well… Most of them can be agreed upon if we just don’t fill the bill with fluff and nonsense.”
Democratic leaders are asking for $3.4 trillion in stimulus, including $25 billion in “emergency” taxpayer funding, so the US postal service can contend with an increase in the volume of mail-in ballots ahead of the November election. They are also seeking billions in federal aid to state and local governments.
The White House has been lobbying for $1 trillion in stimulus and both camps have been unable to agree on a compromise. Republicans are pushing for COVID-19 lawsuit immunity for businesses.
Both the House and Senate are still on recess, however, party leaders have said they’d call lawmakers back to vote if a deal is reached.
The Senate returns from recess on Sept. 8 and the House of Representatives returns on Sept. 14.