There is little optimism on either side of Pennsylvania Avenue that there will be any progress on stimulus talks before lawmakers return to Washington in September, as the two sides remain far apart on even the general scope of a package, let alone the granular policy details of one.
But the fact that Pelosi and Meadows will talk — after partisan blaming and spending the last several weeks talking past and around one another through the press — represents the first tangible step toward restarting negotiations since they broke down.
Democrats have insisted on a topline of above $2 trillion that includes nearly $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments. The White House has firmly opposed that topline price tag and has rejected substantial new aid for states and localities.
Pelosi is facing pressure from rank-and-file members to restart negotiations with the White House. Nearly half of House Democrats signed a letter last week urging her to pass a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Pelosi insisted that her caucus is standing together in its approach to negotiating another round of coronavirus relief legislation with the Trump administration.
Pelosi has been resistant to the idea of rolling relief efforts into a funding measure, arguing that an agreement is needed now.
Democrats have also rejected a piecemeal approach, making clear they won’t agree to anything that doesn’t address their full view of the current needs.