Pelosi Takes Heat for Failed Negotiations on Coronavirus Relief Bill

August 9, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) took heat during interviews by CNN and Fox News anchors after weeks of coronavirus relief negotiations resulted in a stalemate in Congress and executive action by President Donald Trump. 

CNN anchor Dana Bash on Sunday questioned Pelosi on the Democrats' proposed $600 weekly unemployment benefit, asking the speaker whether she would be willing to compromise at $400. 

"I'm not negotiating that right here," Pelosi said. "It depends on what else is in the bill."

Bash then questioned the speaker's ability to compromise with Republicans. 

"Are Republicans right when they say you will not come off of your $600 number—you will not come off of other figures, other policy initiatives that you want—and that's why you're at a stalemate?" Bash asked.

Pelosi said there is room for her to compromise but said she would need to consider the entire package.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday said that while Republicans were not offering the $900 billion that the speaker wanted to fund city and state governments, the stalled negotiations meant no money at all for various entities. 

"You're known as a master negotiator, but didn't you mess this one up?" Wallace asked Pelosi. 

"I'm not saying it's all your fault any more than it's all the Republicans' fault," he said. "But the failure to make a deal is going to result in a lot of people and a lot of entities that were in need ending up with nothing."

During the earlier stages of the pandemic, Pelosi touted her ability to oversee the passing of legislation while avoiding communication with the White House.

"I'm the speaker of the House, legislation is my responsibility," Pelosi said on CNN. "That has not required any conversations with the president on the nature of the policy or the passage of the legislation."

After stalled negotiations in Congress, Trump took executive action on Saturday to extend a series of coronavirus relief programs, including a $400 weekly benefit for unemployed Americans.