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

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Memo: Trump leaves changed nation in his wake New York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration GOP Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene referred to Parkland school shooting as 'false flag' event on Facebook 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 MeadowsAuthor: Meadows is history's worst White House chief of staff Agency official says Capitol riot hit close to home for former Transportation secretary Chao Republicans wrestle over removing Trump MORE — the first conversation between the sides since the talks broke down on Aug. 7.

That day, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerNew York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration Schumer: Trump should not be eligible to run for office again McConnnell, McCarthy accept Biden invitation to pre-inauguration church service 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 MnuchinTreasury imposes additional sanctions on Cuba over allegations of 'serious human rights abuse' Treasury Department sanctions inner circle of Russian agent Derkach for election interference Sanders defends push to impeach Trump: Insurrection won't be tolerated 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.