Pelosi ‘going for the jugular’ as Republicans fight among themselves over COVID-19 aid: report
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Photo: Screen capture)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes she has the upper hand in negotiations with Republicans over the next round of stimulus in response to economic catastrophe resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report in The New York Times.

The newspaper recounted how Pelosi responded to CNBC anchor Jim Cramer's suggestion that she invoke John Lewis to get Republicans to help "minorities" and vulnerable Americans during the economic crisis.

“Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn for what you just described," Pelosi replied.

"The comment — unusually coarse for Ms. Pelosi, 80, who was educated by nuns — was part insult, part dare and part slogan for a woman who believes she has the upper hand in crisis negotiations and does not intend to lose it. And it reflected how, two weeks into stalled talks over another round of federal assistance to prop up a battered economy, and less than three months before Election Day, the speaker of the House is going for the jugular," the newspaper explained.

"She has publicly heaped disdain on her White House negotiating partners as she plays hardball in daily private meetings in her Capitol office suite, convinced that she has political leverage to force Republicans to agree to far more generous aid than they have offered. She has been unwilling to bow to the Trump administration’s demands for a much narrower bill or a stopgap solution," the newspaper reported. "Instead, Ms. Pelosi is pushing for a sweeping package that includes billions of dollars for state and local governments and schools, food and rental assistance, and additional aid for election security and the Postal Service."

The newspaper reported she has demanded GOP negotiators turn over electronic devices as she does not trust them.

“You’ve never done a deal,” Pelosi reportedly told White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

The newspaper noted that "with public opinion she says is in favor of expansive government intervention and polls showing Republicans up and down the ballot sagging under the weight of Mr. Trump’s coronavirus response, the speaker and Democrats have been emboldened to press their advantage."

"Ms. Pelosi’s hand has been strengthened by the divisions among Republicans, many of whom do not want to provide any additional aid, meaning that the White House will need broad support from Democrats to push through any stimulus plan," The Times noted.

Read the full report.