Pelosi, Meadows to restart COVID-19 relief talks

Pelosi, Meadows to restart COVID-19 relief talks

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats seek probe into DHS chief for possible Hatch Act violations Overnight Health Care: CDC testing guidance change was approved by White House task force | CDC says asymptomatic people don’t need testing, draws criticism from experts | No coronavirus response deal until late September? Meadows not optimistic House goes postal for one day MORE (D-Calif.) and White House chief of Staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsMadison Cawthorn mistakenly says James Madison signed the Declaration of Independence Overnight Health Care: CDC testing guidance change was approved by White House task force | CDC says asymptomatic people don’t need testing, draws criticism from experts | No coronavirus response deal until late September? Meadows not optimistic Overnight Defense: Marine Corps brushes off criticism of Marines’ appearance in GOP convention video | US troops injured in collision with Russian vehicle in Syria | Dems ask for probe of Vindman retaliation allegations MORE plan to speak Thursday afternoon, sources said, restarting negotiations on a much-needed coronavirus stimulus package that have been at a standstill for the past three weeks.

The call will happen at 2:30 p.m., sources on Capitol Hill and at the White House said. It will mark the first time Pelosi will have spoken to White House negotiators about a pandemic relief package since Aug. 7.

But the two sides are far apart. House Democrats passed a massive $3.4 trillion coronavirus package in May, but it was rejected by Republicans in the White House and the Senate. Senate Republicans offered a $1.1 trillion package — including a $10 billion boost for the U.S. Postal Service — but Meadows is pushing for an even slimmer bill.

Meadows has been trying to jump start talks with Pelosi for several days. Last weekend, after meeting with rank-and-file lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Meadows dropped by the Speaker’s office unannounced and tried to get a meeting with her. He was told she was busy.

Meadows, appearing at a Politico event on Wednesday, said he’s asked his staff to continue reaching out to Pelosi this week. Those efforts have paid off, but Meadows said he was “not optimistic” about reaching a deal.

He said he thinks Pelosi will “hold out until the end of September” so she can tie the stimulus package to a must-pass bill to avert a government shutdown before the election.

Pelosi has signaled Democrats are willing to drop their package’s price tag $1 trillion if Republicans agree to boost their package by $1 trillion.