House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the possibility of moving a standalone aid bill for airlines on Thursday in the absence of a broader stimulus package, saying it would have to be paired with a more comprehensive effort to address the devastating impact of the pandemic.
'There is no standalone bill without a bigger bill,' Pelosi said during her weekly news conference. 'The comment that I made to the administration last night was we're happy to review what that standalone bill would look like as part of a bigger bill, if there is a bigger bill. But there is no standalone bill.'
Pelosi also slammed President Donald Trump for abruptly calling for an end to negotiations for an aid package earlier this week, questioning whether Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and top congressional Republicans even knew about his decision beforehand.
'When the President did his strange tweet that said we're walking away from the negotiations — it was like, what? We've all been working very hard to find our common ground, to agree on language so that we have an understanding of what the legislation will do,' Pelosi said.
'I think he surprised a lot of people,' she added.
Pelosi said, however, that she remains hopeful a deal can be reached, 'because it has to be done,' despite the fact that negotiations appear to be largely at an impasse currently.
'We told the White House we're at the table. We're at the table,' Pelosi said. 'We want to continue the conversation. We've made some progress.'
Days after he announced he would be halting talks between his administration and Democrats to reach a stimulus deal, Trump claimed Thursday morning during an interview on Fox Business Network that talks are now moving in a more positive direction.
'I shut down talks two days ago because they weren't working out. Now they are starting to work out. We're starting to have some very productive talks,' Trump said during the interview.
'We're talking about airlines and we're talking about a bigger deal than airlines,' he said.
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.