By James Samson
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) weekly press conference went off the rails on Friday as she clashed with a CNN reporter while also admitting that she is suddenly willing to move forward with a coronavirus relief bill because we have a “new president.”
Pelosi had been criticized for months for not supporting a moderate Democratic proposal and instead insisting on more money. The current proposal is $908 billion, which is significantly less than the $1.5 trillion proposed before the election, according to Fox News. Even Donald Trump’s White House had proposed more than that in October with a $1.8 trillion package, which is about double the size of the one Pelosi is now backing.
When asked why she suddenly had changed her mind and started supporting a smaller package, Pelosi cited “a new president and a vaccine.” She added that the new proposal “has simplicity, it’s what we had in our bills, it’s for a shorter period of time, but that’s O.K. now because we have a new president.”
Things derailed when a CNN reporter questioned if it was a mistake not to accept a scaled-down relief package. This question did not sit well with the 80 year-old Pelosi.
“I’m going to tell you something,” she said as she pointed her finger. “Don’t characterize what we did before as a mistake, as a preface to your question, if you want an answer. That was not a mistake. It was a decision, and it has taken us to a place where we can do the right thing without other, shall we say, considerations in the legislation that we don’t want.”
Though Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have been dragging their feet for months, they changed their tune when they backed the current proposal, suddenly saying that “the need to act is immediate.”
“In the spirit of compromise, we believe the bipartisan framework introduced by Senators yesterday should be used as the basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations,” they said in a joint statement. “Of course, we and others will offer improvements, but the need to act is immediate and we believe that with good-faith negotiations we could come to an agreement.”