Jul 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Nancy Pelosi: "I yearn for other Republican presidents"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on President Trump Thursday to exercise "the full power" of the Defense Production Act to meet coronavirus equipment needs and accused him of engaging in a "massive dereliction of duty" by ignoring science during the pandemic.

What she's saying: "I yearn for other Republican presidents," Pelosi said at a press conference. "While we may have disagreed on many points, at least we had a shared commitment to the governance of our country."

The big picture: Congress is prepping for a bitter battle over the next coronavirus stimulus package, which comes amid a surge in infections in 37 states over the past week. The $600-per-week supplemental unemployment insurance (UI) benefit included in the March CARES Act is set to expire at the end of July.

  • Pelosi, who has already led the passage of House Democrats' $3 trillion stimulus bill, said that she is in favor of extending the $600 UI benefit, but added, "The whole package will depend on what we do also through direct payments, which are so essential."
  • Pelosi did not say whether she has been in contact with anyone in the Trump administration for negotiations. President Trump said earlier this month that he supports another round of direct payments, but signaled that he and other Republicans would not support the extension of UI benefits.
  • Recess schedules in the House and Senate leave the chambers in need of striking a deal between July 20–31. However, Pelosi said earlier this week that the House would "absolutely" skip August recess to reach a deal.

The bottom line: "Because we are Americans, we're going to beat this. But we have to beat it scientifically, and in order to do that, you have to believe in science, and you have to believe in governance," Pelosi said.

Go deeper: More than 32 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits

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