Pelosi: ‘People will die’ if coronavirus stimulus talks drag into late September

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(CNN) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol Wednesday that she doesn’t want stalled negotiations for another round of coronavirus relief to drag until the end of September when government funds are set to expire.

“I hope not. People will die,” she said.

The House is currently scheduled to next return for votes in the middle of September, although Democratic leaders have told members the chamber could return before then if they can reach an agreement with the White House for a stimulus package before then. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he would give lawmakers 24 hours’ notice to travel to Washington for votes.

Pelosi indicated negotiators remain far apart in the talks.

“We have a vast difference in our values,” she said during an interview with MSNBC.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, blamed Democrats for the delay.

“Democrats seem to be done being reasonable,” the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday.

Pelosi reiterated her offer for Republicans to up their price tag by $1 trillion, with Democrats lowering theirs by the same amount. Democrats previously passed a more than $3 trillion package. Republicans have said a $2 trillion bill would be too steep, with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin arguing state and local governments do not need as much money as Democrats are proposing.

Pelosi hit Republicans for the impasse, saying they are “disorganized, in disarray, and do not believe in governance or science.”

“Let’s meet in the middle, we’ve said all of that,” Pelosi said. “But until they’re ready to do that, it’s no use sitting in a room and let them tell us that states should go bankrupt.”

President Donald Trump went around Congress and signed four actions over the weekend to provide some stimulus measures, including a payroll tax holiday for some Americans and pared back federal unemployment benefits after provisions for $600 in weekly federal unemployment insurance ran out last month.

Pelosi on Wednesday projected confidence Republicans will return to negotiations.

“As a practical matter, they’re going to have to come to the table,” she said.

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