Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., justified keeping the marijuana provision in the $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill by calling it a therapeutic drug, pushing back against complaints that the drug can’t help during the pandemic.
“I don’t agree with you that cannabis is not related to this,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. “This is a therapy that has proven successful.”
While talking to reporters on Friday, Pelosi defended the portion of the bill related to cannabis after negotiations stalled with Republicans on passing a coronavirus aid bill that would extend unemployment benefits.
Each party has pointed at provisions in the other’s proposals that are directly unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic.
House Democrats approved a package in May that would allow cannabis businesses to work with federally-backed financial institutions, Current federal law places hefty fines on financial institutions that do business with any company that deals with cannabis.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have proposed a $1.1 trillion emergency stimulus bill that would provide roughly $1.8 billion in funding to build a new FBI headquarters at its current location in Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump has been accused of wanting to keep the FBI building in its current location, directly across from the Trump International Hotel. That way, his critics have said, no competing hotel could set up across from his own should the FBI headquarters move elsewhere.
“That’s what that’s all about. That has nothing to do with the coronavirus,” Pelosi said. “So we’re going to have to come to some compromise on the legislation. I just don’t accept that there’s any equivalence in what you put forth there.”
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, have met four times this week to work out a deal with no luck.
Negotiators are scheduled to get on a call on Friday to continue working on a deal.
And the extra $600 a week that unemployment beneficiaries receive are expected to end after Friday. Now both parties are blaming one another for jeopardizing the economic safety net given to millions of Americans.
“We’ll see what they come back with today,” Pelosi said. “But do not accept any thought in their mind that they want to continue the $600.”