Remarks at Media Availability with Leader Schumer Following Meeting with Trump Administration on Coronavirus Relief Legislation
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer held a media availability after meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to discuss further coronavirus relief legislation. Below is a full transcript:
Leader Schumer. Well, this was the longest meeting we’ve had and it was more productive than the other meetings. There are many issues that are still very much outstanding where we’re apart, but we had a serious discussion and we went down piece by piece and saw where each side was at. The staffs will be meeting over the weekend, tomorrow, to go through some of the things we went through and we will meet again on Monday.
We’re not close yet, but it was productive discussion. Now each side knows where we’re at and we are going to work very hard to reach an agreement that meets the needs of the moment. We still believe, and we’ve discussed this with them, that this is one of the greatest problems America faces and we need to meet those needs in a very, very serious way; that just saying, ‘We’ll do half way,’ doesn’t work when people need homes and need jobs and need housing and need help.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you.
Leader Schumer. Nancy?
Speaker Pelosi. Yes, central to all of this is, is to defeat the coronavirus, and very central to our Heroes Act is a strategic plan to do that. If we have testing, tracing, treatment, distancing, mask-wearing, sanitation and the rest, we can lower the – this is a freight train. It’s – exponentially, the numbers are increasing of the people who are affected and people who are dying. It has an impact on the economy, and the economic – the lives, the livelihood and the life of our democracy are at risk and affected by this coronavirus.
So, we cannot take a – as we address the economic concerns of our families, there is a solution. And, God-willing, we will have a vaccine, one of these days, soon, a matter of months, but people can be infected and die in the meantime. And our – the impact on our economy. We saw yesterday, the numbers that talked about the impact on the GDP and on – what we are doing is not only trying to arrest the virus but to invest in the economy as we help America’s working families.
So, today was productive in terms of moving us forward. As the Leader said, our staffs will be working to – theirs and ours – to have some clarity in some of the issues and we’ll meet on Monday.
But it is, again, we have to get through this virus so that we can open our economy, safely open our schools and to do so in a way that does not give a cut in benefits to America’s workers.
Here we have this challenge. And what they were saying before is, ‘We’re going to cut your benefits.’ That’s one of the, shall we say, discussions we’re having. Okay?
Leader Schumer. I said to them, ‘If a million people are without food, you don’t say, “Let’s compromise and give half a million people food.” If there are a million people, a million of small businesses hurting you don’t compromise and say, “We’re only going to help half of them.”’
But on the other hand, we have really — it was the best discussions we’ve had so far. And I’d call it progress, but a ways to go.
Speaker Pelosi. That’s fair.
Leader Schumer. Is that fair?
Speaker Pelosi. That’s good.
Speaker Pelosi. The fact is that this week, for the nineteenth-straight week, over a million Americans filed claims for Unemployment Insurance. Millions of people are food insecure in our country. Millions are on the verge of eviction. People need resources in order to meet the needs of their families.
So, what’s very important for, as we come to – this is not a usual discussion, because the urgency is so great health-wise, financial health-wise and, again, the health of our democracy because our elections will be affected by the coronavirus and we must address that.
Leader Schumer. Thank you, everybody.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you.