The Trump administration was criticized by Democratic leaders on Wednesday for refusing to compromise on their position regarding the scope and size of the next package aimed at providing COVID-19 relief, while the two camps remained in a deadlock over the issue.
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: "Democrats have compromised. Repeatedly, we have made clear to the Administration that we are willing to come down $1 trillion if they will come up $1 trillion. " The statement added, "However, it is clear that the Administration still does not grasp the magnitude of the problems that American families are facing."
Treasury Secretary Blames Democrats
The Democratic leaders' statement came after a conversation with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier in the day, reports Xinhua news agency. "An overture was made by Secretary Mnuchin to meet and he made clear that his televised comments from earlier today still stand: the White House is not budging from their position concerning the size and scope of a legislative package," Pelosi and Schumer said.
Mnuchin, however, rebutted the criticism shortly after. In a statement, he said the Democratic leaders' statement is not an accurate reflection of the phone conversation he had with Pelosi earlier in the day. "She (Pelosi) made clear that she was unwilling to meet to continue negotiations unless we agreed in advance to her proposal, costing at least $2 trillion," Mnuchin said. "The Democrats have no interest in negotiating."
Negotiations between Democratic leaders and White House officials collapsed on August 7 as both sides blamed each other for making little progress. House Democrats unveiled a $3 trillion relief proposal in May, but didn't gain support from the Republicans.
Senate Republicans released their $1 trillion proposal in late July, just a few days before the extra $600 weekly unemployment benefits expired. On August 8, Trump signed a series of executive orders to extend certain COVID-19 economic relief, but they are unlikely to provide a meaningful boost to the overall economy.
(With inputs from agencies)