Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin initiated a call to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the conversation. This is the first time they have spoken since talks collapsed last Friday.
It appeared the call made no progress toward breaking the impasse on a fifth coronavirus relief package. Instead, both sides underscored how entrenched the negotiations are and blamed each other for the stalemate.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a joint statement, saying that Mnuchin had made an “overture” to meet but also made clear that the White House wasn’t moving on either the price tag of the legislation or what should be in it.
Mnuchin quickly fired back that the description offered by the Democratic leaders was “not an accurate reflection” of his conversation with Pelosi. “She made clear that she was unwilling to meet to continue negotiations unless we agreed in advance to her proposal, costing at least $2 trillion more.
The Democrats have no interest in negotiating,” he added.
Mnuchin said the administration would be willing to resume negotiations if Democrats would be “reasonable,” but he stopped short of predicting whether the two sides would be able to strike a deal.
“I can’t speculate. If the Democrats are willing to be reasonable, there’s a compromise. If the Democrats are focused on politics and don’t want to do anything that’s going to succeed for the president, there won’t be a deal,” he said.
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