Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden ignored Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats’ stonewalling of another coronavirus relief bill and instead tried to blame Trump and Republicans during Thursday night’s final presidential debate.
“[Trump] will not support that. They have not done a thing for them. And Mitch McConnell said let them go bankrupt. Let them go bankrupt,” Biden added. “Come on. What’s the matter with this guy?”
Moderator Kristen Welker also attempted to push Trump on the issue, asking him, “Mr. President, why haven’t you been able to get them the help they need?”
“Because Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it,” Trump explained. “I do.”
“Nancy Pelosi does not want to approve it,” he added. “We are ready, willing, and able to do something. Don’t forget, we’ve already approved three plans and it’s gone through, including the Democrats in all fairness.”
Republicans have nearly doubled their offer on coronavirus stimulus.
It's not the GOP that's blocking passage of relief. It's Pelosi, who was never going to endorse any kind of package before Nov. 3. #Debate2020
— Tristan Justice (@JusticeTristan) October 23, 2020
Trump also added that Pelosi’s refusal to pass another stimulus bill was purely political.
“This one, she doesn’t want. It’s near the election. She thinks it helps her politically. I think it hurts her politically,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I think we’re going to take over the House because of her. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve anything because she would love to have some victories on a date called Nov. 3.”
Welker then asked Biden a similar question about pushing other Democrats to pass a relief bill deal, saying he is “the leader of the Democratic Party.”
Biden, however, merely claimed he has encouraged the Democrats to pass it, spinning his answer to criticize Trump.
“I have, and they have pushed it,” Biden claimed, completely ignoring Pelosi’s stonewalling on a coronavirus relief bill and instead claiming that the faulty HEROES Act — a $3 trillion stimulus package attempt following the passage of the CARES Act that included more money to state and local governments and other Democratic spending priorities (such as student loan debt forgiveness and a continued $600-per-week unemployment boost) — failed due to a lack of Republican votes.
“The Republican leader in the United States Senate said he can’t pass it. He will not be able to pass it,” Biden claimed. “He does not have Republican votes. Why isn’t he talking to his Republican friends?”
Trump, however, fired back at Biden, saying that the bill passed in the House was “a bailout of badly run, high-crime, Democrat cities, and states.” He continued, “It was a way of getting a lot of money, billions and billions of dollars to these guys.”
“This was a way of spending on things that had nothing to do with COVID, as per your question,” Trump said.
In the Senate this week, Democrats in a party-line vote blocked GOP efforts to pass a $500 billion stimulus bill that would have included more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a weekly $300 supplemental unemployment insurance benefit, and business liability protections, but no direct payments to individual Americans.
Senate Republicans are reluctant to support any relief bill exceeding $1 trillion, much less the $3 trillion Democratic proposals. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are continuing their months-long negotiations over the next stimulus bill as negotiations have intensified with the election looming.
“If Speaker Pelosi ever lets the House reach a bipartisan agreement with the administration, the Senate would of course consider it,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday.