Meadows Says He Has Reached Out To Pelosi To Restart Coronavirus Stimulus Talks

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday he has reached out to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to restart negotiations for a phase 4 stimulus package.

In an interview with Politico, Meadows said he had his staff contact Pelosi’s chief of staff about starting up another round of discussion for a coronavirus stimulus package, adding that he does not expect to hear back from her. The White House and Congress failed to come to an agreement on legislation in August before recess.

“I actually had my staff reach out again yesterday to Speaker Pelosi’s chief of staff,” Meadows said in an interview with Politico.

“It’s really been Speaker Pelosi really driving this train as a conductor more so than really anybody,” Meadows added. “And I think privately she says she wants a deal and publicly she says she wants a deal, but when it comes to dealing with Republicans and the administration, we haven’t seen a lot of action.”

In late July, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the House would remain in session until a deal on a stimulus package is reached, but that did not happen. There are now no House votes until Sept. 14, and members will have 24 hours notice to return for any votes related to coronavirus.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speak to reporters after briefing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, on their meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, for coronavirus relief talks at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on August 3, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Pelosi’s chief of staff Drew Hammill responded to Politico about Meadows’ comments, to which he said Pelosi would be glad to talk with the White House but that they must meet Democrats in the middle. (RELATED: Republicans Furious As Democrats Leave Town With No Deal)

“Democrats have compromised in these negotiations,” Hammill said in a statement. “We offered to come down $1 trillion if the White House would come up $1 trillion. We welcome the White House back to the negotiating table but they must meet us halfway.”

President Donald Trump signed four executive orders in order to help the unemployed and the economy, effectively bypassing congress to send money to Americans. (RELATED: Democratic Congressman Criticizes His Party For Going Into Recess Before Stimulus Deal Was Reached)

Trump’s first order establishes a payroll tax cut holiday from August 1, 2020 through the end of the year. The second would direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies to forbid evictions. The third order establishes a $400-per-week addition to the paycheck protection program for workers. The fourth will help give relief for Americans’ student loans.

Despite the short-term executive orders, lawmakers have left Washington, D.C, to return to their home states without a stimulus package and have criticized Trump for signing the orders. Pelosi called Trump’s actions “absurdly unconstitutional.” But Republicans in Congress have defended Trump’s action of signing the executive orders and continue to put blame on Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for not reaching a deal.