Pelosi slams Trump over virus testing

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 9, 2020.

Ting Shen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi eviscerated the Trump administration on Monday as Washington fails to send more relief to Americans during a record spike in coronavirus cases.

The California Democrat’s biting letter to House Democrats came only minutes before a planned conversation with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as the two push to reach a stimulus agreement. The chances of Congress approving a relief bill before Election Day on Nov. 3 have all but evaporated.

Pelosi targeted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for saying Sunday that “we’re not going to control the pandemic.” She also said the Trump administration has not accepted House Democrats’ proposal for a national testing strategy, even though Mnuchin said he would during a CNBC interview earlier this month.

“The Republicans’ continued surrender to the virus – particularly amid the recent wave of cases – is official malfeasance,” Pelosi wrote. She said she expects a response from the White House “on several concerns” during the conversation Monday.

“We must come to agreement as soon as possible,” the speaker wrote.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on Pelosi’s letter.

The sides have failed to approve new aid money for months despite a climbing infection count and signs of a slowing economic recovery. Democrats have accused the White House of failing to grasp the gravity of the crisis, while Republicans have argued that Pelosi has refused to compromise.

Democrats and the White House have most recently proposed $2.2 trillion and $1.9 trillion relief packages, respectively. Despite the similar target price tags for legislation, the sides still have not resolved disputes over testing, extra unemployment insurance, state and local government relief and liability protections for businesses, among other issues.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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