House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a press conference Thursday, told reporters that she “wasn’t sticking around” Capitol Hill because Republicans “don’t agree to language” on the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act“, a legislative package that was released by House Democrats Wednesday night.
Pelosi said at her weekly news conference that House Democrats plan to bring their coronavirus response package to the floor for a vote on Thursday.
Speaker Pelosi told reporters that Democrats are “addressing” some Republican concerns in their coronavirus response legislation, saying the Trump administration’s suggestions have so far been “very reasonable.”
However, she became flustered when a reporter had asked about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who suggested that the House stay in session instead of leaving for a week-long recess in order to further negotiate changes to the coronavirus legislation.
“One of the issues that the Minority Leader is talking about has to do with– he believes that compromise could take place within the next 24-48 hours. But if it doesn’t, Republicans are willing to stay and work this out,” the reporter said.
“We don’t need 48 hours,” Pelosi stated. “We need to just make a decision to help families right now. Because we have to operate, not as business as usual, but as an emergency status that we have to get the job done.” (Continued Below)
“If the decision isn’t made, will you stick around?” the reporter then asked Pelosi.
“I’m not sticking around because they don’t want to agree to language,” Pelosi vented. “We’re agreeing to much of what they have to [present].” Pelosi said, adding that members who have complaints should “save it for another day.”
“We are responding to their concerns, we don’t want them moving the goalposts, and that’s it,” she said. (Video Below)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted on Thursday: “Notwithstanding the scheduled state work period, the Senate will be in session next week. I am glad talks are ongoing between the Administration and Speaker Pelosi. I hope Congress can pass bipartisan legislation to continue combating the coronavirus and keep our economy strong.”
Speaker Pelosi’s official remarks:
Q: Would House Dems stay if compromise isn't reached on the coronavirus response bill in the next 24-48 hours?@SpeakerPelosi: "We don't need 48 hours, we need to just make a decision to help families right now… I'm not sticking around bc they don't want to agree to language" pic.twitter.com/6B2V3cPxk6
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 12, 2020
Pelosi sought to include a potential way to guarantee federal funding for abortion into the coronavirus economic stimulus plan, according to multiple senior White House officials, Daily Caller reported.
As reported by Daily Caller:
Speaking to the Daily Caller, those officials alleged that while negotiating the stimulus with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Pelosi tried to lobby for “several” provisions that stalled bipartisan commitment to the effort. One was a mandate for up to $1 billion to reimburse laboratory claims, which White House officials say would set a precedent of health spending without protections outlined in the Hyde Amendment. (Continued Below)
“A new mandatory funding stream that does not have Hyde protections would be unprecedented,” one White House official explained. “Under the guise of protecting people, Speaker Pelosi is working to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent covering abortion — which is not only backwards, but goes against historical norms.”
A second White House official referred to the provision as a “slush fund” and yet another questioned, “what the Hyde Amendment and abortion have to do with protecting Americans from coronavirus?”
Pelosi and Mnuchin were engaged in negotiations Thursday morning to finalize the text of the legislation.
Politico confirmed after this article went to press that the Hyde Amendment provision was eventually removed from the stimulus later on Thursday and will hit the House floor as a separate bill.