House GOP Leader Blames Pelosi, Schumer for Higher Unemployment

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy partially blamed Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer for U.S. unemployment levels as talks over a coronavirus relief package hit the buffers on Thursday night.

Speaking to Fox News, the California Republican pinned delays in the passage of COVID-19 bailout bills on the Democratic congressional leaders, questioning how many people had become unemployed because of the hold backs.

The House Republican leader hit out at Pelosi and Schumer on the same day the GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not back the $3 trillion stimulus plan proposed by House Democrats for fear of adding to the national debt.

Appearing on Hannity last night, McCarthy said: "Every single time we've worked on COVID legislation, you know who's held it up? Nancy Pelosi. Remember her at her refrigerator when small businesses needed the money for their employees? She said no.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
Kevin McCarthy arrives at a press conference on Capitol Hill on July 02, 2020 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

"Or when the very first CARES Act went forward, she said no and held it for another week. How many more people were unemployed because of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer's actions?"

Newsweek has contacted the offices of Pelosi and Schumer for comment. This article will be updated with any responses.

The top Democrats came away from a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Thursday with criticism of the administration's handling of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and rising unemployment.

"We had a long discussion and we just don't think they understand the gravity of the problem," Schumer said. "The bottom line is this is the most serious health problem and economic problem we've had in a very – in a century and in 75 years. And it takes really good, strong, bold action. And they don't quite get that."

Speaker Pelosi added that the Republican leadership appeared to "understand that we have to have a bill," but did not recognize how large the bailout fund would have to be.

"The suggestions that they are making are only proof that they don't understand the gravity of the situation," she added.

The finger pointing over who was to blame for a lack of COVID-19 relief funding came as newly released economic indicators revealed the scale of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the American economy.

According to Bureau of Economic Analysis data, U.S. GDP fell by almost 33 percent in the second quarter of this year, following a 5 percent fall in the first three months of 2020.

The Department of Labor also reported that more than 1.4 million Americans filed initial jobless claims in the week ending July 25, marking a rise in unemployment for the second week running.

"Unfortunately, the U.S. has not managed to effectively control the spread of the virus even after imposing widespread restrictions in March and April. Thus, the outlook for the U.S. economy through the rest of the year remains bleak," Morning Consult economist John Leer told Newsweek on Thursday.

"U.S. consumer confidence continues to be driven by the negative news of the spread of the virus."