WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ripped House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the months-long COVID-19 aid stalemate, saying she was the only person stopping relief from reaching tens of millions of Americans.
“Things are still at the same place. There’s one road block. There’s one big wall that’s stopped this the entire time and it’s Speaker Pelosi,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said during his weekly press conference on Thursday.
“I would think after the politics she played and the election being over, that she’d now put the American public first. She still seems to be in the same position,” he went on.
Congress has not passed any economic relief since April with Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on how large the package should be and what should be covered.
Democrats have repeatedly blocked narrow coronavirus relief bills in favor of the $3 trillion HEROES Act that House Democrats passed in May. A slimmer $2.2 trillion version passed in September failed to revive the long-stalled talks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday called the package a “multi-trillion-dollar laughingstock” while even some Democrats like outgoing NY Rep. Max Rose said it was “a middle finger to the American people.”
On Thursday, McCarthy called on 23 moderate Democrats to make good on their promise to sign a GOP resolution to force a vote on emergency aid for small businesses, extending the Paycheck Protection Program.
“This could be done today and help could be on the way,” he said of PPP.
“Speaker Pelosi’s approach, that nothing is better than something, is wrong and everybody knows it and the American people have paid the price for it,” he went on.
McCarthy said it was “disgraceful” that Democrats were “clamoring to go home for the rest of the year” and called on Pelosi (D-Calif.) to keep the House in session until relief was passed.
The stalemate endures even as the nation experiences a troubling record spike in daily coronavirus infections and passes the grim milestone of 250,000 deaths.
However, Democrats have lashed the GOP as “heartless” for being unwilling to pass anything beyond its $1 trillion ceiling and include funding for broke state governments.
“The only one who has refused to lift a finger on COVID relief, even refusing to take part in negotiations, has been Senator McConnell,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Sunday.