Nancy Pelosi Calls White House's $916 Billion Offer With $600 Stimulus Checks 'Unacceptable'

The Trump administration offer of a $916 billion stimulus package that would send a $600 check to most Americans, but eliminate a $300 per week employment benefit has been called unacceptable by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he made the offer to Pelosi late on Tuesday afternoon.

"Speaker Pelosi and I spoke today at 5 p.m., and on behalf of the President, I presented a $916 billion proposal," Mnuchin said in a statement. "This proposal includes money for state and local governments and robust liability protections for businesses, schools and universities."

He didn't elaborate on the details of the plan, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Bloomberg that the proposal includes a $600 direct payment for individuals and $1,200 for couples—half the payment delivered by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March.

In a joint statement, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the proposal was "progress," but added that it "must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway."

"Members of the House and Senate have been engaged in good-faith negotiations and continue to make progress. The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution," they said.

They also rejected part of the proposal that included a reduction in funding for unemployment benefits, calling it "unacceptable."

"The President's proposal starts by cutting the unemployment insurance proposal being discussed by bipartisan Members of the House and Senate from $180 billion to $40 billion. That is unacceptable," the statement said.

According to Bloomberg, the White House proposal does extend two other expiring unemployment insurance programs—one for gig workers and one for workers who have exhausted their 13 weeks of standard benefits.

Meanwhile, the bipartisan group is led by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, among others, is working to rally lawmakers behind a $908 billion framework that includes a $300 per week pandemic jobless benefit, as well as $160 billion for states and local governments.

Mnuchin said he and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had reviewed the $916 billion offer with President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and McCarthy that he called a "slightly larger package than the bipartisan proposal of $908 billion."

He said the plan will be funded with $140 billion in unused funds from the Paycheck Protection Program and $429 billion in Treasury funds.

"I look forward to achieving bipartisan agreement so we can provide this critical economic relief to American works, families and businesses," he said.

On Twitter, McConnell added: "The Senate knows all about end-of-year drama, but this time the stakes could not be higher. Americans are struggling under the weight of this pandemic. Democrats need to let Congress do our job & pass more relief.

"We have so much common ground. Let's make law. Let's get it done."

Correction 12/9/2020 6:23 a.m. ET: A previous version of the article headline misstated the amount of the stimulus package.

Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on December 4, in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images