- The Washington Times - Monday, October 26, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday excoriated the Trump administration’s “arrogance” in its coronavirus response, saying it isn’t adequately trying to combat the pandemic.

She said she’s expecting a response from the White House on “several concerns” in the coronavirus stimulus negotiations, which made very little progress over the weekend.

“The Republicans’ continued surrender to the virus — particularly amid the recent wave of cases — is official malfeasance,” Mrs. Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democrats. “We must come to agreement as soon as possible. But we cannot accept the Administration’s refusal to crush the virus, honor our heroes or put money in the pockets of the American people.”

She also highlighted White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ comments about not being able to “control the pandemic,” arguing they underscored the administration’s “arrogance.”

“That attitude clearly explains why the White House has not embraced the science-based path to crush the virus, which is contained in the Heroes Act,” she wrote.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin spoke Monday for about an hour, but emerged again without an agreement on testing, according to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

“It is clear that our progress depends on Leader McConnell agreeing to bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to crush the virus, honor our heroes — our essential workers — and put money in the pockets of the American people. The Speaker remains optimistic that an agreement can be reached before the election,” Mr. Hammill wrote.

Last week, negotiators were optimistic and hailed the progress they made toward hammering out a comprehensive deal, but many of the same outstanding issues still remain without an agreement, including language on a national testing plan.

However, others on Capitol Hill are far more skeptical a deal can be reached before Election Day.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican, said the odds were “very, very slim” of getting a deal through, especially given the Senate’s plan to wrap up their session after the Supreme Court confirmation vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’d put any White House-approved deal to a vote “at some point.”

The fifth coronavirus deal has been elusive for several months. In addition to the number of policy differences, negotiators still haven’t nailed down a top-line figure. The White House’s latest offer is $1.9 trillion while the Democrats remain at $2.2 trillion.

Democrats say the White House needs to get Senate Republicans, wary of another massive spending deal, on board. The GOP, though divided on a potential deal, is united in blaming Mrs. Pelosi.

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