Pelosi Rules Out Standalone Covid-19 Aid Bills Without Broader Deal

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., left, listens as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., left, listens as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

 

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The House speaker articulated her stance as President Trump said he was open to negotiating standalone bills, such as one for airlines, after calling off talks on a broader package.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday ruled out standalone coronavirus aid bills, including one to assist the airline industry, without agreement by the Trump administration to comprehensive relief measures.  

"I have been open to having a standalone bill for airlines," Pelosi said Thursday while speaking with reporters. "But there is no standalone bill without a bigger bill.”

Pelosi’s comments are the latest in back-and-forth negotiations playing out between Trump, his White House negotiators, and Republican and Democratic lawmakers.  

Trump on Tuesday abruptly announced a suspension of talks with Democrats over a broad array of coronavirus stimulus measures until after the presidential election on Nov. 3. The announcement, which he made on Twitter, caught members of his own cabinet and some Republican lawmakers by surprise.

But Thursday, Trump indicated he is open to negotiating standalone measures to provide $1,200 checks to taxpayers and financial aid for airlines, which have furloughed around 40,000 workers in recent days.

During an interview with Fox Business, the president said he opted to call off negotiations after both sides came to an impasse.

“It’s not anybody’s fault,” Trump said. “They were trying to get things; we were trying to get things and it wasn’t going anywhere and I shut it down. I don’t want to play games.”

Since then, the president said talks have resumed on standalone legislation that would address the financial troubles of airlines and provide a second round of direct stimulus payments to Americans.

“I think we have a really good chance of doing something,” he said.

Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating for months to try and reach compromise over the next stimulus package, with Republicans unwilling to spend as much as Democrats have proposed.

Though Trump has raised the prospect of coming back to the table to discuss standalone bills, Pelosi was adamant that she would not support the initiatives without broader agreement that includes aid for state and local governments, more help for unemployed people, funding for testing, and schools.

“The question is, if there were to be a standalone bill, what does that look like?” Pelosi said of the restart of talks with the White House. “There is no way we can say let’s just write some checks and give it to the president so he can spend it anyway he wants.”

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Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.

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