- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 13, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday she won’t be in Washington, D.C. next week, suggesting talks on the next round of COVID-19 relief have completely stalled with legislation unlikely to pass before September.

The California Democrat told reporters she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, tried to meet Republicans halfway between the GOP $1 trillion packages and the Democrats’ $3.4 trillion legislation for the fifth round of COVID-19 stimulus.

The legislation being debated would provide money for reopening schools, healthcare costs, renew unemployment benefits, provide families with more checks, and add more funds into the Paycheck Payment Protection Program.

“For months and even until now [Republicans] have ignored the science. They called it a hoax,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “They are the hoax.”

She said talks won’t continue until Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows until Republicans are willing to come up with a $2 trillion deal.

The Democratic National Convention takes place next week, and Mrs. Pelosi is expected to speak from her home state, California.

“I am so excited to be able to be speaking at the convention. Originally, we thought we were going to Wisconsin,” she said. “I will be doing it live from California.”

During the past two to three weeks of negotiations over coronavirus relief, the Paycheck Payment Protection program expired, making it more difficult for small businesses to try to keep people employed.

Unemployment benefits from the feds also expired as the two parties couldn’t reach a deal about how long people should receive $600 a week after losing their jobs.

Mr. Trump announced over the weekend he would extend unemployment on his own at $400, with states paying 25% of the amount after a deal could not be reached on Capitol Hill.

The president also signed executive actions implementing a continued moratorium on student loan repayments, a payroll tax cut for people making under $100,000 a year, as well as an action aimed at assigning renters and homeowners.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Thursday that Democrats have refused to budge on their “absurd” demands in talks. He has noted they want stimulus checks for illegal immigrants and also money to study pot, as well as bailout funds for mismanaged blue states.

“No family in middle America is saying: Thank goodness the Democrats are blocking cash payments to me, money for my kids’ schools, and money for vaccines until Manhattan millionaires get a tax cut!” Mr. McConnell said.

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