By Marisa Schultz-Fox News
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged Thursday the long odds of the Democrats’ $3 trillion coronavirus relief legislation of becoming law and suggested the massive bill could be a starting point of negotiations with the White House and Senate.
“We’re putting our offer on the table, we’re open to negotiation,” Pelosi said Thursday on the eve of the planned vote on the HEROES Act.
Her comments came just as the White House issued an official veto threat on the legislation, accusing Democrats of wanting to pass “long-standing partisan and ideological wish lists” rather than addressing the nation’s public health and economic challenges.
The White House chided Democrats for making certain undocumented immigrants eligible for the second round of $1,200 direct payments, for including a $25 billion “bailout” for the U.S. Postal Service and for funding vote-by-mail and same-day registration priorities.
But at the Capitol, Pelosi framed the legislation — the biggest relief package in history — as a necessary expense to deal with the unprecedented economic and health crisis that has left nearly 85,000 Americans dead and 36 million jobless.
“This is really quite an exciting time for us because we have a monumental need for our country at this sad time,” Pelosi said.
During a press conference, she brought up the overwhelming bipartisan support that the previous four coronavirus bills have garnered and argued that Republicans have already voted in favor of many of the issues in the bill, such as coronavirus testing, $1,200 direct payments to most Americans, expanded unemployment help and state and local government funds.
“Eighty percent of the bill we have already passed in one way, shape or form,” Pelosi said.
While House Democrats drafted the bill solo without the Senate Republicans or the White House, Pelosi said it’s not uncommon for one branch to take the lead to get the talks moving.
“This is not new that one side of the aisle might … put something on the table — as they did in the two previous bills — and now we’re putting ours [forward] and invite negotiation,” Pelosi said.
Republicans and Senate leadership have been cool to a fifth round of coronavirus relief legislation arguing it’s time to pause after nearly $3 trillion has already borrowed for pay for the aid to small businesses, laid-off workers and Americans stuck at home.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the House proposal earlier Thursday as “a totally unserious effort.” During a scathing floor speech, McConnell ticked off examples of “left-wing oddities” inside the coronavirus bill.
“House Democrats had a blank slate to write anything they wanted to define the modern Democratic Party,” McConnell said. “… And they chose: Tax hikes on small business, giveaways to blue-state millionaires, government checks for illegal immigrants, and sending diversity detectives to inspect the pot industry.”
With Republicans not even agreeing more help is needed, Pelosi Thursday sought to ramp up the public support for the new legislation and unveiled new links on her website to determine how much each state would benefit.
Pelosi was just about to end her press conference at the Capitol when she pulled down her green-printed mask to make another pitch for Americans to see how much money could come into their communities under the Democrats’ plan.
“Don’t forget to go to speaker.gov,” Pelosi said, “to see where you live, how much money goes there.”
A vote on the bill is slated for Friday in the House, despite objections from progressive leaders who want more time to amend the legislation.
Fox Business Network’s Blake Burman contributed to this report.