Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) — who earlier this month openly admitted she was happy to pass a smaller coronavirus relief package now that Democratic nominee Joe Biden is president-elect — dodged a CNN reporter on Sunday when he tried to ask her some pointed questions.
CNN’s senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju was actually doing some real reporting over the weekend (which is news in itself), and that evidently didn’t sit well with the embattled speaker.
After Pelosi held a press conference about the forthcoming $900 billion stimulus deal in which she blamed Republicans for delays in the process, Raju pressed her about “why the $900 billion deal is more acceptable to her than the $1.8 trillion offer [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin made to her this fall?”
In response, Pelosi reportedly refused to answer Raju, purposely not calling on him and ignoring his question even though he was one of just five reporters at the event.
When Raju followed her into the hallway to ask the question again, she simply continued ignoring him. Finally, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), who was walking alongside her, stepped in to provide some clarity.
“Ask Mitch McConnell,” he said of the Republican Senate majority leader from Kentucky.
Pelosi wouldn’t answer my question about why the $900 billion deal is more acceptable to her than the $1.8 trillion offer Mnuchin made to her this fall.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 21, 2020
Raju noted that Pelosi in October characterized the $1.8 trillion plan as amounting to “one step forward, two steps back” for the country.
Lawmakers are set to debate and vote on the new $900 billion package on Monday, and it is expected to pass. The deal will be attached to a $1.4 trillion spending bill that will fund federal agencies through the fiscal year, or until next October.
Though she is acting more tight-lipped now, Pelosi made no mystery earlier in December about her motives for approving a smaller stimulus package post-election.
In a press conference about the ongoing negotiations, Pelosi listed “a new president and a vaccine” as the two obvious reasons for her change of heart after a reporter asked a question similar to the one Raju asked.
“Perhaps you missed what I said earlier: Joe Biden pledged to crush the virus … and a vaccine, an answer to our prayers,” she snapped at the reporter. “With a Democratic president committed to a scientific solution for [the virus], with the idea that we will have a vaccine, it’s a complete game-changer from then.”