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

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBrown says Biden's first moves as president should be COVID relief, voting rights Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to positive tests among Pence aides Pelosi dismisses talk of White House compromise on stimulus: They 'keep moving the goal post' 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 Randall MeadowsPence's 'body man' among aides who tested positive for coronavirus: report Murphy says US would be 'better off' if Trump admin 'did nothing' on coronavirus Biden: Meadows coronavirus remark a 'candid acknowledgement' of Trump strategy 'to wave the white flag' MORE — the first conversation between the sides since the talks broke down on Aug. 7.

That day, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerGraham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  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 Terner MnuchinPelosi dismisses talk of White House compromise on stimulus: They 'keep moving the goal post' Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Hillicon Valley: Treasury sanctions Russian group accused of targeting critical facilities | Appeals court rules Uber, Lyft must comply with labor laws | Biden: Countries that target US elections will 'pay a price' 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.