Pelosi digs in ahead of coronavirus talks: 'We're not budging'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week Stefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Democrats are insisting on more than $2 trillion in emergency aid in the next coronavirus package, blaming Republicans for the prolonged impasse and warning that it won't be broken until GOP leaders accept more funding.

"We're not budging," she told reporters in the Capitol. "They have to move. They have to move."

"Why should there be a bill that has far less [of] what the public needs?" she added. "We have that responsibility, and they're just going to have to come up with more money."


The comments came just hours before Pelosi was scheduled to speak by phone with White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE — the first conversation between the sides since the talks broke down on Aug. 7.

That day, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) had offered to reduce their initial $3.4 trillion demand by $1 trillion, but only if Republicans were willing to hike their opening bid of $1.1 trillion by the same $1 trillion — a proposal the GOP leaders quickly rejected.

Pelosi warned Thursday that if the Republicans' position remains unchanged her phone call with Meadows won't last long.

"That could be a very short conversation if they're not ready to meet in the middle," she said.

Democratic leaders, who found success in negotiating earlier rounds of emergency aid with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMenendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election MORE, have had a tougher time since Meadows joined the talks.


Meadows, a former North Carolina congressman and chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, had built a reputation over seven years on Capitol Hill as a deficit hawk willing to blow up compromise funding bills, even when they were endorsed by the leaders of his own party.

Pelosi on Thursday could barely disguise her disdain for her former House colleague, characterizing Meadows as Mnuchin's staffer and seeming, at one point, to forget his name.

"This is a conversation only to respect the fact that [he is] the president's representative — not even the lead negotiator, that would be Mnuchin," Pelosi said. "We consider whatever his name is — what's his name? — Meadows there staffing Mr. Mnuchin. And if they are willing to meet us in the middle then we can sit down and talk.

"So this is: you called me, I'm returning your call. Are you ready to bring much more money to the table?"

The call between Pelosi and Meadows is scheduled to take place at 2:30 p.m.