Kudlow: Pelosi has ‘no intention of compromising on key issues’ in stimulus talks

Aaron Schwartz

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Thursday accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of being unwilling to compromise on key issues in coronavirus stimulus negotiations and said that targeted economic relief is “not going to happen.”

Kudlow, speaking on Fox News, criticized Pelosi over a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Thursday morning asking for a response to Democrats’ latest offer on coronavirus relief. He also claimed that the letter was given to Politico before it was sent to Mnuchin.

“Somehow, I guess it’s a mystery, that letter got to Politico before it got to the secretary. Our team now believes that the Speaker has no intention of compromising on key issues,” Kudlow said. “She is stringing us along.”

A Democratic aide, however, said the letter was sent to Mnuchin’s staff at 12:05 a.m., hours before Politico Playbook published Thursday morning.

Kudlow’s remarks confirmed that a deal between the White House and Democrats remains far out of reach and that talks have faltered significantly, providing contrast to the sense of optimism administration officials had projected on the prospect of a fifth stimulus package just earlier this month. The White House made clear this week that a deal would not be reached before Election Day, now five days away. Still, President Trump has insisted that a comprehensive deal would be reached after Nov. 3, despite significant doubts.

“We have doubted her seriousness in the recent weeks,” Kudlow said of Pelosi on Thursday. “We continued to negotiate in good faith. This letter that got public before it got to the secretary is the wrong, bad form. But most importantly, they show no evidence of compromising on the very key issues.”

“So, we’ll perhaps have to wait. I don’t think this recovery depends on the assistance package per se, but I do think … unemployment assistance, PPP [Paycheck Protection Program], small business assistance, helping the schools, that could have helped a lot and it’s not going to happen,” he continued.

In the letter sent to Mnuchin on Thursday, Pelosi warned that a lack of quick action on future relief would increase the economic pain felt by Americans across the country. She laid out areas where Democratic negotiators are awaiting a response from the White House, including funding for state and local governments and schools and language on a national testing strategy. Her letter underscored that both sides remain far apart in talks.

“Your responses are critical for our negotiations to continue,” Pelosi wrote. “The President’s words that ‘after the election, we will get the best stimulus package you have ever seen’ only have meaning if he can get [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] to take his hand off the pause button and get Senate Republican Chairmen moving toward agreement with their House counterparts.”

Both parties have sought to blame the other for the breakdown in stimulus negotiations leading up to the election. A Morning Consult poll released this week found Americans blame Trump and Republicans over Democrats by a narrow margin for the failure of talks to produce a deal.

Kudlow’s remarks Thursday came as the White House touted figures showing the U.S. economy made record gains in the third quarter as evidence that Trump is the best candidate to shepherd the United States through recovery during the coronavirus pandemic. Kudlow, who has repeatedly argued that the recovery does not depend on a large stimulus package, said that the gross domestic product (GDP) growth showed a “V-shaped” economic recovery.

“It’s a strong, strong recovery. The V-shaped concept that I coined a while back [is] looking pretty good right now,” he said on Fox.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Larry Kudlow Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Pandemic relief bill Steven Mnuchin Stimulus

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