WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats and Republicans remain stubbornly gridlocked over the details of the next coronavirus relief bill, still disagreeing on how much money it should include and where that cash should go.
Democrats have dug in their heels on their plan, which now includes around $2 trillion in spending. And while even President Donald Trump is warming to a larger figure, most Republicans still aren’t.
“We have a massive problem in our country,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday at a press conference. “The needs have only grown.”
Democrats say they’ve compromised as much as they’re willing to.
“We came down a trillion dollars. We asked them to go up a trillion dollars. Instead, they went down,” Pelosi said.
“Our small businesses are devastated, our schools cannot safely reopen, more 195,000 of our fellow Americans have tragically died,” Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., added. “America cannot afford another day of Republican inaction.”
Trump on Twitter said that Republicans should increase their spending limit, but Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that’s not going to happen.
“You can get Republicans to spend more money than maybe what we had a week ago in the Senate bill, but you’ll never get us to go to a trillion and a half dollars,” he said, noting sending billions to blue states is off the table.
“(Democrats are) playing politics and when they play politics, the people of this country lose,” Grassley said.
His Republican colleague from Kansas, Sen. Pat Roberts, said he’s still holding out hope for a deal.
“It’s possible, I don’t know if it’s probable,” Roberts said. “We not only have a pandemic of COVID-19, we have a pandemic of politics.”
A bipartisan group of 50 lawmakers this week introduced a $2 trillion compromise bill, but it’s not backed by leadership from either party.