Coronavirus Relief -- President Trump Set to Propose $1.8T Package


President Trump departs Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., October 5, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The White House is set to offer House speaker Nancy Pelosi a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday, two days after President Trump had halted negotiations on a second round of aid money, according to reports.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to discuss the proposal — which is an increase from the administration’s earlier offer of $1.6 trillion, but still falls short of the $2.2 trillion Pelosi has demanded — in a meeting with the speaker on Friday, according to Fox Business

“The president wants to do a deal,” Kudlow said Friday morning an interview with FOX Business. 

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump said in a tweet on Friday.

Trump’s new proposal is a marked about-face after he suspended negotiations until after the election, instructing Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to instead focus on confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. 

“Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith,” the president wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said shortly after that Trump had “turned his back” on the American people.

“Make no mistake: if you are out of work, if your business is closed, if your child’s school is shut down, if you are seeing layoffs in your community, Donald Trump decided today that none of that – none of it – matters to him,” the former vice president said.

While both sides of the aisle largely agree that another relief bill is necessary to help American workers and businesses struggling from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, Democrats have pushed for more funding than Republicans have been willing to give and both sides have argued over which causes should receive funding.

After House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion package last week, the White House countered with a $1.6 trillion plan which Pelosi rejected as “inadequate.”

Congress has faced political gridlock for months over a second round of relief. After negotiations first failed in August, Trump signed four executive orders, including a temporary $300-per-week boost to unemployment aid, aimed at providing piecemeal relief.

Recently, lawmakers have sought to pass a smaller bill that would give billions to the airline industry, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic, and provide a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks directly to Americans.

However, McConnell on Friday said he believed it is unlikely Congress would pass a bill ahead of the November 3 election.

“I just think the situation’s kind of murky, and I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage,” he said. “I’d like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April, but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.”

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