Blame Game: Trump, Pelosi, McConnell Point Fingers on Lack of COVID-19 Aid

It has become quite the bipartisan showdown about the deal for a new coronavirus stimulus package. Things got heated on Thursday, August 14, with congressional Democrats blaming Republicans, Republicans blaming Democrats, and President Donald Trump blaming the Democrats. Who is really to blame?

He said, she said

Nancy Pelosi: “I want you to see how vast our differences are,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a news conference Thursday. She pointed to a large blue poster detailing the wide gap between what Republicans and Democrats want to pay for various priorities. 

“It’s no wonder we have a vast difference because this administration, other Republicans in Congress have never understood the gravity of this situation,” Pelosi said.

Mitch McConnell: The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. condemned the Democrats for sticking with a “completely unrealistic, far-left proposal” and holding the negotiations “hostage” over “non-COVID-related ideological items.”

“The speaker and the leader have not conceded anything,” McConnell said. “They haven’t budged on their absurd demands. Their partisan games continue. And so the nation’s pain continues, too.”

President Trump: Trump’s outlook on the next package has appeared more grim. In the days after signing his orders, he claimed Democrats were more eager to reach a deal than they had been. 

Trump then blamed the stalled negotiations on the Democrats’ demand for “radical-left agenda items that nobody in their right mind would approve.”

“The Democrats have abandoned the American people over the simple subject of politics,” he said at a White House news conference. “Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are holding the American people hostage over money for their radical left-wing agenda that the country doesn’t want and won’t accept.”

Democrats vs. Republicans

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,” Steven Mnuchin, United States Secretary of the Treasury, said after the Wednesday, August 12, call. “The Democrats have no interest in negotiating.” 

Democrats rebutled that it is the Trump Administration that is not willing to negotiate and have repeatedly said Republicans do not understand the gravity of the virus and the needs across the country.

“Democrats have compromised,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement after the call on Wednesday. “Repeatedly, we have made clear to the administration that we are willing to come down $1 trillion if they will come up with $1 trillion. However, it is clear that the administration still does not grasp the magnitude of the problems that American families are facing.”

State of limbo

The dueling remarks illustrate the lack of teamwork between both parties over desperately needed money to help workers, families, businesses, and schools with the coronavirus pandemic. The disagreements on where the money should go continues. After weeks of talks, the negotiations have only seemed to worsen despite the expiration of a number of vital programs.

Trump suggested Wednesday, August 12, that a deal isn’t going to be made. The President pointed the finger at Democrats for demanding $3.5 billion for mail-in voting, which he argued would perpetuate voter fraud, and for pushing for an additional $25 billion for the postal service.

With the talks in limbo, Trump signed four executive orders last week in hopes of filling the voids left by several programs expiring, including enhanced unemployment insurance and a moratorium that prevented renters from being evicted. 

But questions remain over the orders, and critics say they may take too much time to implement, could be vulnerable to legal challenges, and may not yield the results promised.

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