KEY POINTS

  • Meadows tried to contact Pelosi earlier this week but was turned away from her office
  • The two are expected to speak at 2:30 p.m. EDT
  • Meadows said he is not optimistic about reaching a deal

Update: 3:55 p.m. EDT

After speaking with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, House 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it's clear the White House is disregarding the impact coronavirus has had on people's lives.

"We're not budging," Pelosi told reporters. Asked how to break the impasse, she responded, "They have to move."

Chief White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Politico there's no way the White House will agree to another multitrillion-dollar coronavirus relief package. 

"There has to be a limit," he said.

“Much of the price tag on the other side of the aisle was not related to COVID. At least a third, if not more — so that’s not what we call smart spending.”

Original story

Coronavirus stimulus talks were poised to restart Thursday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows planning to speak by phone for the first time in three weeks.

Talks on the fifth round of coronavirus relief broke off Aug. 7, with Democrats and the White House in disagreement over such issues as a boost to unemployment payments and whether to reimburse state and local governments for costs resulting from the pandemic, which has killed nearly 180,000 Americans, data from Johns Hopkins University showed.

Pelosi, D-Calif., and Meadows were scheduled to speak at 2:30 p.m. EDT, the Hill reported. The Hill said Meadows has been trying to jump start the talks for days, even dropping by Pelosi’s office unannounced but was told she was busy.

Meadows told a Politico event Wednesday that President Trump wants a deal. Meadows said, however, he was not optimistic one would be reached.

“I think the speaker is going to hold out until the end of September and try to get what she wants in the funding for the government during the [continuing resolution] or whatever funding mechanism happens to come up at the end of September,” Meadows said.

House Democrats passed a $3.5 trillion package in May that kept the unemployment compensation boost at $600 a week and provided funds for state and local governments. Senate Republicans countered with a $1 trillion plan that reduced the unemployment boost and provided no funds for state and local governments. The GOP offer did not come until the end of July, just one week before provisions of the CARES Act, which was adopted at the end of March, were to expire.

The breakdown led to President Trump's four executive orders suspending the payroll tax through the end of the year, providing $300 a week in unemployment compensation, attempting to suspend evictions and foreclosures, and deferring student loan payments.

Since then, Pelosi indicated she was willing to reduce her ask by $1 trillion if the Republicans would increase their offer by $1 trillion. Meadows was pushing for an even slimmer deal.

“Democrats have compromised in these negotiations. We offered to come down $1 trillion if the White House would come up $1 trillion. We welcome the White House back to the negotiating table, but they must meet us halfway,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told Politico.

Lawmakers are not scheduled to return to the Capitol until mid-September, just two weeks before the government runs out of spending authority. The new fiscal year kicks in Oct. 1.

Pelosi had said she wanted to reach a compromise before negotiations on a continuing resolution got underway.