- The Washington Times - Friday, November 6, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she wants to restart negotiations for a comprehensive coronavirus relief bill, but she still isn’t interested in adopting a scaled-down approach.

“We want the Republicans to come back to the table,” Mrs. Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference.

Despite her expectations that Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden, who is leading in the presidential vote count, will win, Mrs. Pelosi said a relief bill can’t wait for a Democrat in the White House.

And she has the agreement from Senate Republicans on at least the urgency for another bill, but neither side has signaled it’s ready to veer from its position.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this week that passing a stimulus deal to help get economic relief and testing resources to the public is at the top of the post-election to-do list.

The last round of negotiations ended with the White House offering around $1.9 trillion, Democrats wanting $2.4 trillion, and Senate Republicans wary of anything more than $1 trillion.

On Friday, Mrs. Pelosi said she still would not entertain a scaled-down approach to the coronavirus pandemic, like the $500 billion package Senate Republicans attempted to pass twice before the election.

“They still have not agreed to crush the virus. If you don’t crush the virus, we’re still going to be dealing with the consequences of the virus,” she said. “There’s a difference between Democrats and Republicans. We have a responsibility to find common ground, stand your ground where we can’t, but make it clear to the American people what the choices [are].”

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, Mr. McConnell pointed to the improving unemployment rate, which fell to 6.9% in October, as a sign that Congress should tailor its response.

“I think it reinforces the argument that I’ve been making for the last few months, that something smaller — rather than throwing another $3 trillion at this issue — is more appropriate,” he told reporters at a press conference.

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters the administration is talking with Mr. McConnell as they look at a “targeted” package, and they’re not interested in $2 trillion or $3 trillion.

“I think everyone is going to want to get a stimulus package through,” Mr. Kudlow said.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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