House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is the major “roadblock” preventing lawmakers from passing coronavirus relief legislation as the number of confirmed cases rises throughout the U.S.
“There’s one roadblock, there’s one big wall that has stopped this thing the entire time and it’s Speaker Pelosi,” McCarthy said during a press conference on Thursday.
McCarthy, R-Calif., who said he has been in touch with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the White House about relief legislation, characterized Pelosi’s approach to negotiations as “nothing is better than something.”
A senior Democratic aide told Fox News on Thursday that McCarthy, Pelosi, McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., were scheduled to meet on Thursday – though it was not clear whether coronavirus relief would be discussed.
In response to McCarthy’s comments, Drew Hammill, spokesperson for Pelosi, told Fox News that Democrats have been pushing Republicans to move forward with coronavirus relief for six months.
“For six months, Democrats have been pressing Republicans to agree to the next round of coronavirus relief, and for six months, Leader McConnell has insisted on a ‘pause’ while the White House’s negotiators accused vulnerable families of lying about not being able to pay the bills,” Hammill said in an emailed statement. “But as millions of families fall deeper into despair, McConnell’s emaciated proposal gives no stimulus checks, no rental assistance, no nutrition assistance, but does give liability immunity to employers who get their workers sick.”
House Democrats passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in May, which did not have Republican support.
They sent an updated version to the Senate in October, which also did not get the GOP green light.
McConnell has pushed for “targeted” stimulus relief, which – as referenced by Pelosi’s spokesperson – Democrats largely opposed.
Republicans put forward a $500 billion bill last month that did not pass a vote in the Senate.
The Trump administration put forward an offer as high as $1.8 trillion, which was rejected by Pelosi.
Meanwhile, the U.S. coronavirus outbreak surpassed a grim milestone on Wednesday, as it was revealed that 250,000 Americans died from the virus. Cases are once again surging in many states as governors announce renewed lockdown restrictions in an attempt to curb the spread.