President Donald Trump raised further questions about the status of coronavirus stimulus talks days after claiming he called off negotiations.
Trump announced on Tuesday that he had instructed his team to “stop negotiating until after the election” after the talks stalled over the White House’s refusal to provide aid to hard-hit states and cities.
Despite the claim, Trump continued to press Congress to extend individual portions of the coronavirus relief programs hours later.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows confirmed that talks were off on a comprehensive plan on Wednesday but the administration held out hope that it would make progress on a piecemeal approach.
"We're looking at the potential for standalone bills, there's about 10 things we agree on," he said. "If the speaker is willing to look at those things on a piece-by-piece basis, we are willing to look at it."
Trump claims talks will “work out”:
Trump told Fox Business on Thursday that talks are “starting to work out.”
“I shut down talks two days ago because they weren’t working out. Now they’re starting to work out,” he said. “We’re talking about airlines and we’re talking about a bigger deal than airlines. “We’re talking about a deal with $1,200 per person, we’re talking about other things.”
Pelosi says nope:
Pelosi rejected Trump’s claims during a news conference on Thursday.
“They just want money for the president to spend money on who knows what?” Pelosi said. “There is no stand-alone bill without a bigger bill.”
Vulnerable Republicans have urged Trump to restart talks on a comprehensive package.
“It wasn’t wise,” Rep. Denver Riggleman told Politico. “You saw that realization when he walked back the comments last night by tweeting about passing a [standalone] Covid aid bill. Now, every GOP candidate lost the argument about Covid relief. Unfair or not, it puts Republicans in an awful position.”