House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismisses latest White House coronavirus aid offer

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday dismissed the latest White House offer in COVID-19 aid talks as “one step forward, two steps back,” but said she is still hopeful that progress can be made toward a deal.

The White House had boosted its offer before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi spoke on Friday afternoon. President Donald Trump is eager for an agreement before Election Day, even as his most powerful GOP ally in the Senate said Congress is unlikely to deliver relief by then.

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump said Friday on Twitter.

A GOP aide familiar with the new offer said it was about $1.8 trillion, with a key state and local fiscal relief component moving from $250 billion to at least $300 billion. The White House says its most recent offer before that was about $1.6 trillion. The aide was not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pelosi’s most recent public offer was about $2.2 trillion, though that included a business tax increase that Republicans won’t go for.

“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering,” Trump said on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show Friday. Earlier in the week, Trump lambasted Democrats for their demands on an aid bill.

In a letter Saturday to colleagues, Pelosi said, “This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back. When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold.”

She said that while his administration attempted to address some of the Democratic concerns, disagreement remained on many priorities and Democrats are “awaiting language” on several provisions.

“Despite these unaddressed concerns, I remain hopeful that yesterday’s developments will move us closer to an agreement on a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families,” Pelosi’s letter said.

But GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had told an audience in Kentucky that he didn’t see a deal coming together soon out of a “murky” situation in which the participants in the negotiations are elbowing for political advantage.

“I’d like to see us rise above that like we did in March and April, but I think it’s unlikely in the next three weeks,” McConnell said Friday. He said later that “the first item of priority of the Senate is the Supreme Court,” suggesting there isn’t time to process both a relief bill and the high court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the Nov. 3 election.

He spoke after Trump apparently performed an about-face, empowering Mnuchin to resume negotiations with Pelosi, D-Calif., on a larger, comprehensive package despite calling off the talks just days before.

McConnell remains a skeptic that a deal can come together — and he has issued private warnings that many Senate Republicans will oppose a deal in the range that Pelosi is seeking.

“We do need

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Pelosi dismisses latest White House coronavirus aid offer

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday dismissed the latest White House offer in COVID-19 aid talks as “one step forward, two steps back,” but said she is still hopeful that progress can be made toward a deal.

The White House had boosted its offer before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi spoke on Friday afternoon. President Donald Trump is eager for an agreement before Election Day, even as his most powerful GOP ally in the Senate said Congress is unlikely to deliver relief by then.

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump said Friday on Twitter.


A GOP aide familiar with the new offer said it was about $1.8 trillion, with a key state and local fiscal relief component moving from $250 billion to at least $300 billion. The White House says its most recent offer before that was about $1.6 trillion. The aide was not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pelosi’s most recent public offer was about $2.2 trillion, though that included a business tax increase that Republicans won’t go for.

“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering,” Trump said on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show Friday. Earlier in the week, Trump lambasted Democrats for their demands on an aid bill.

In a letter Saturday to colleagues, Pelosi said, “This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back. When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold.”

She said that while his administration attempted to address some of the Democratic concerns, disagreement remained on many priorities and Democrats are “awaiting language” on several provisions.

“Despite these unaddressed concerns, I remain hopeful that yesterday’s developments will move us closer to an agreement on a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families,” Pelosi’s letter said.

But GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had told an audience in Kentucky that he didn’t see a deal coming together soon out of a “murky” situation in which the participants in the negotiations are elbowing for political advantage.

“I’d like to see us rise above that like we did in March and April, but I think it’s unlikely in the next three weeks,” McConnell said Friday. He said later that “the first item of priority of the Senate is the Supreme Court,” suggesting there isn’t time to process both a relief bill and the high court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the Nov. 3 election.

He spoke after Trump apparently performed an about-face, empowering Mnuchin to resume negotiations with Pelosi, D-Calif., on a larger, comprehensive package despite calling off the talks just days before.

McConnell remains a skeptic that a deal can come together — and he has issued private warnings that many Senate Republicans will oppose a deal in the range that Pelosi is seeking.

“We do

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White House dismisses criticism of persistent coronavirus supply chain problems as work of ‘useful idiot’

WASHINGTON — The White House is objecting to a new report from the Government Accountability Office that concludes that seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. continues to struggle with supply chain logistics that have led to shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests.

The authors of the nearly 400-page GAO report were concerned that not only did those issues continue to persist, but that the Trump administration did not take them seriously enough. “As supply constraints continue,” those investigators wrote, “we found that [the Department of Health and Human Services] and [the Federal Emergency Management Administration] have not developed plans outlining specific actions the federal government will take to help mitigate remaining medical supply gaps needed to respond to the pandemic.”

Those challenges could soon be joined, and supplanted, by an even greater one: that of delivering a coronavirus vaccine to millions of people. The report warned that “without clearly defined roles and responsibilities, the federal response structure may be unable to respond to new supply chain challenges that could emerge.”

The report called for a “national plan” for vaccine distribution. No such plan exists. The lack of such a plan for diagnostic tests through the spring and summer led to competition, replication and confusion.

President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House, however, painted the agency’s findings as an attack on the administration. “It is well-known that the GAO is neither non-partisan or independent but simply a useful idiot for the Democrat Party and Big Labor,” White House economic adviser Peter Navarro told Yahoo News in a response forwarded by the White House communications department. “Its bureaucrats lean heavily left and contribute equally heavily to Democrat candidates. In this election season, this new ‘report’ is without merit and simply an in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign.”

GAO is an independent agency that reports to Congress, producing frequent reports on a wide range of government activities.

In response to the White House criticism, the GAO defended its report and conclusions. “For nearly a century GAO has been a source of non-partisan, fact based work for both sides of the aisle in Congress. We do work specifically at the request of both Congressional Chairs of Committees and the Ranking Members, and both turn to our subject matter experts when they are looking for facts,” Chuck Young, the GAO’s managing director of public affairs, wrote in an email to Yahoo News. “The CARES Act was no exception, since it was passed with a high level of bipartisan support, and with mandates for GAO to look at how the law was being implemented. Also in this report, the agencies we looked at all got a chance to comment on our recommendations and in many cases, agreed with them. We followed the facts in this report, as we do in all our work, and we will continue to take that

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