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Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press'

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience On The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed MORE said on Thursday that he learned about a letter Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSpending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.) sent to him about coronavirus stimulus talks "in the press."

“I woke up this morning and read @SpeakerPelosi ’s letter to me in the press,” Mnuchin said on Twitter. “Enclosed is my response. Her ALL OR NONE approach is hurting hard-working Americans who need help NOW!” 

 

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Pelosi sent a letter to Mnuchin earlier in the day Thursday demanding a response to the Democrats’ latest offer on emergency coronavirus relief, and warned that a failure to act quickly will only worsen the health and economic fallout as the pandemic surges around the country. 

“Your responses are critical for our negotiations to continue," Pelosi wrote to Mnuchin. 

"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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellImmigration, executive action top Biden preview of first 100 days Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight McConnell pushed Trump to nominate Barrett on the night of Ginsburg's death: report MORE [R-Ky.] to take his hand off the pause button and get Senate Republican Chairmen moving toward agreement with their House counterparts.” 

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In his response, Mnuchin accused Pelosi of releasing the letter publicly as “a political stunt,” and claimed it inaccurately described the state of negotiations between the two.

Mnuchin further claimed that the administration accepted Pelosi’s proposal on dollars and language for coronavirus testing, and has provided feedback on the section on contact tracing. 

He also said he’s worked with other agencies and committee chairs on responses on several areas of coronavirus relief, including rental assistance, small businesses and funding for the Postal Service. 

“While you accuse the Administration of holding up negotiations, you refuse to bring to the floor of the House stand-alone legislation to support Airline workers, additional Paycheck Protection Program payments to small businesses, and additional Direct Payments that we can fund using already approved money that we have not spent,” Mnuchin wrote. “Your ALL OR NONE approach is hurting hard-working Americans who need help NOW.” 

The letters are the latest squabble between the White House and Democratic congressional leadership on a coronavirus stimulus package that has been stalled for weeks.

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The two sides have been in disagreement on a price tag for the deal and where money should be allotted. The White House has offered around $1.9 trillion, and Democrats have put up $2.2 trillion. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE said Tuesday that a stimulus package was coming after the election. He previously urged Congress to vote on aid before Election Day. 

“After the election, we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen,” the president said Tuesday.

Senate Republicans and the White House have blamed Pelosi for not agreeing to their demands, claiming the speaker has been unwilling to compromise close to the Nov. 3 election. 

“Nancy Pelosi doesn't want to approve it. I do,” Trump said during last week's presidential debate when asked about a lack of stimulus deal from Congress. “It's near the election, because she thinks it helps her politically. I think it hurts her politically."

Meanwhile, the U.S. is still grappling with the reality of a surging pandemic, with more than 500,000 new cases of COVID-19 recorded over the past week. The total set a new weekly record as cases continue to rise with the cooling weather. 

Twenty-five states have set a new record for cases in the last two weeks, including 17 states with record highs since last Wednesday.