Trump Approves $1.8 Trillion Stimulus Offer to Pelosi
He calls it a "crazy job". She questions his sanity. Together they must work out a package of around $ 2 trillion to save the economy.
It may sound like a pitch for the worst rom-com ever, but unfortunately it's the current state of affairs between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Just days after breaking off negotiations on a comprehensive coronavirus aid package on Friday, Trump appeared as eager - or desperate - as never before to close a deal and tweeted, "Covid Relief negotiations are moving forward. Go big! "Trump later said in a telephone interview with Rush Limbaugh," I would like a bigger stimulus package than frankly either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering. "The president acknowledged that his latest position is" the exact opposite "of his previous one .
The White House, which has reportedly tried to revive the talks that appeared dead earlier this week, has put together its biggest proposal to date for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a package of $ 1.8 trillion to the Democrats before 1.6 trillion US dollars to be presented.
The package approved by Trump is no bigger than what the Democrats have offered. The House Democrats passed a $ 2.2 trillion bill last week and Pelosi has steadfastly refused to drop below $ 2 trillion, so both sides still have the option of both the total cost of the package and the also, more importantly, a lot of details to consider. For example, the White House offer reportedly includes $ 300 billion in aid to state and local governments - an increase on previous proposals but still shy of the $ 436 billion Democrats want. It would also reportedly extend the duration of the $ 400 weekly unemployment benefit proposed by the White House and provide $ 1,000 per child as a direct payment, compared to the $ 500 Congress provided in March.
"Today the secretary returned to the table with a proposal that sought to address some of the Democrats' concerns," Pelosi deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill tweeted. “Of particular concern is the lack of agreement on a strategic plan to combat the virus. For these and other provisions, we are still waiting for the language of the administration as negotiations on the total amount of funding continue. "
The big question: even if the negotiators make progress, getting an agreement and putting it into law is very different, as Politico points out.
The Senate Republicans, who have not participated in the ongoing talks, are nowhere near as zealous as Trump is now saying to "make it big" and many are strongly against a deal on the order of $ 2 trillion. "I have a significant percentage of my members who believe we have done enough and who are alarmed about the size of the national debt," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Thursday.
Even if the White House and Pelosi reach an agreement, getting 60 Senate votes won't be easy and time will run out as the Senate prioritizes the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. "It will be difficult to get through the House with many Republican votes and it could land in the Senate by the end of this month or on the doorstep in early November," suggests Politico. “What are you doing with an invoice at this point? Probably ignore it. "
Trump could still change all that. He is reportedly now involved in the process and is liaising with Republican senators to gather support. "The direct involvement of Trump himself and his willingness to make an offer far beyond the preferences of Republicans in Congress add a dynamic new element to the lengthy negotiations," wrote CNN's Phil Mattingly and Ted Barrett.
Even as Trump urged action, McConnell on Friday expressed doubts about the chances of an “Elbow for Political Advantage” being undertaken as a pre-election negotiator. "I would love to see how we rise above like we did in March and April, but I think that is unlikely to be in the next three weeks," he said.
Meanwhile, Trump and Pelosi are still questioning each other's mental abilities, which may not matter but probably won't help.
Bottom Line: Pelosi and Mnuchin have spoken every day this week, and the negotiators are reportedly planning to work through this weekend and possibly next weekend as well to reach an agreement. So there is a renewed sense of urgency to strike a deal, and this week's neck-breaking twists and turns have brought some real strides forward. But the chances of another stimulus plan being passed before the election may have changed much.
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