Remarks at Media Availability with Leader Schumer Following Meeting with Trump Administration on Coronavirus Relief Legislation

August 4, 2020
Press Release

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.  Okay, hello everybody.  We alternate who goes first each day.

[Laughter]

There’s no diabolical or any – alright, so, we spent an hour and a half.  We really went down issue by issue by issue, slogging through.  They made some concessions, which we appreciated.  We made some concessions, which they appreciated.  We are still far away on a lot of the important issues, but we’re continuing to go at it. 

In my view, the fundamental disagreement is the scope and depth of the problem and its solution.  This is the greatest crisis America has faced in 75 years economically, in a hundred years health-wise.  We believe it needs a big, bold solution. 

They are still wrapped in this idea that the government shouldn’t do much and leave it to the private sector.  And it just doesn’t work.  They’re also not unified.  They admit that there are a large number of the Republicans in the Senate will not vote for anything.  And we don’t exactly know where Donald Trump is.  He says a different thing every day. 

But we’re still slogging through step by step by step, and we’re making progress.  It’s not easy, but we’re going to keep at it until we get the kind of bill the American people demand and need, which is a bold, strong bill. 

Speaker Pelosi.  To that end, a bold, strong bill, we agree that we want to have an agreement, and in that case, we then say that’s our goal, let’s engineer back from there as to what we have to do to get that done.

Now, Leader Schumer and I are legislators, with long experience in writing legislation.  We know that the devil is in the details.  So are the angels.  And it’s very important that we have a complete understanding of each other of what we are agreeing to.  It’s not a conversation, it’s a legislative interaction. 

So, this takes time, and it takes specificity.  And you call each other back, ‘Well, you bring more of your information tomorrow.  We’ll bring more of ours,’ so that we have the clearest understanding of what is going to be in the bill and what the consequences are – what are the ramifications of that. 

This is a different legislative negotiation than any we’ve been engaged in because there’s a fuse out there of people being infected and dying because we have not had an effective strategic plan.  The Administration has resisted that.  We’re insisting on that, in terms of a strategic plan for testing, tracing, treatment, isolation, masks, sanitation, all that it takes to hold this in check until, God-willing and science-providing, we have a vaccine soon. 

So, this is – it’s hard.  In some cases we’re inching along, in others, we’re making more progress, but it takes time and we’ll take more time tomorrow.

Did you want to say anything about tomorrow?

Leader Schumer.  Just one final thing I wanted to say.  We’re meeting tomorrow, two meetings.  First, we have demanded that we talk to the Postmaster General because we have seen the late mail and we’re very worried about the effect on the election.  And he’s going to come meet with us tomorrow and explain to us why there are so many delays and how that might effect the election.  And, second, then we’re meeting together ourselves.

And the only final thing I’d say is one sign of the progress is we are now exchanging far more detailed paperwork with each other.  They sent us a bunch of paper.  We sent them a bunch of paper.  And we each comment on it.

So, it is easy?  No.  Are we persisting?  Yes.  Do we believe that we can get the kind of bold, strong bill that America needs?  We do.

Speaker Pelosi.  If I just may add one thing to that, and that is this.  We wrote – The Heroes Act is a document that addresses the needs of the American people.  The staff, our staff, are very familiar with the particulars of the legislation, why it is there, what justification for it is, why the amounts of money in it and the rest. 

So, I have to say that our staff, yours and mine, they have performed –  

Leader Schumer.  They’re the greatest.

Speaker Pelosi.  They are just great, they’re dazzling in terms of seeing that.  I also want to pay tribute to the chairmen of the committees, those on our side and your, well –  

Leader Schumer.  The ranking members.

Speaker Pelosi.  They’re ranking members on your side because they’re, as an intellectual resource, they and their committees have been very helpful.   

So, we don’t come to this with a notion.  We come to this with a well-developed, strategic plan on how to stop the growth of the virus, how to honor our heroes with state and local and put money in the pockets of the American people.

Leader Schumer.  And they don’t, yet, really have a strategic plan, they have little pieces that are supported by some Republicans and that’s the – that’s part of the difficulty, but we’re making progress.