While the sentiment was that talks with Pelosi should continue, it was clear that the White House plan had virtually no chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate, the sources said.
Sen. Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, told Mnuchin and Meadows, flatly, “I don’t get it” when it came to why the White House was going down their current path, according to two sources familiar with the call. Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said it would be a “death knell” to the Senate Republican majority and it would serve to “deflate” the base just three weeks before the election.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, one of the most even keel and respected members of the conference, told Meadows and Mnuchin there was simply “no appetite” to spend the number the White House was floating.
And Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, stressed that should an agreement be reached, it could completely bury the focus on Trump’s Supreme Court nomination — which should be the focus for both the White House and Senate Republicans, Lee said.