White House virus aid offer is panned by Pelosi, Senate GOP
WASHINGTON (AP) - A new coronavirus offer of assistance from the White House received poor reviews from both sides of the political spectrum on Saturday.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rejected the Trump administration's most generous plan yet as "one step forward, two steps back." The Republicans who control the Senate dismissed it as too expensive and a political loser for conservatives.
Pelosi said she was still confident that progress could be made towards a deal, but it is still clear that GOP Conservatives don't want a deal on their terms.
The White House had stepped up its offer before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi spoke on Friday afternoon. President Donald Trump is keen to reach an agreement before election day, even if his most powerful ally, the GOP in the Senate, said Congress is unlikely to bring any relief until then.
"The negotiations on Covid Relief are progressing. Go big! "Trump said Friday on Twitter.
The new offering amounts to around $ 1.8 trillion, according to volunteers, with a key state and local tax relief component moving from $ 250 billion to at least $ 300 billion. The White House said its most recent offer was previously about $ 1.6 trillion. The helpers were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Pelosi's most recent public offer was about $ 2.2 trillion, though that included a business tax hike that Republicans would not seek.
In a letter to colleagues on Saturday, Pelosi said, “This proposal was one step forward and two steps back. When the president talks about wanting a larger aid package, his suggestion seems to mean that he wants more money, at his own discretion, to give or withhold. "
She said while his administration tried to address some of the democratic concerns, disagreements remained over many priorities and the Democrats are awaiting language on several provisions.
"Despite these unresolved concerns, I continue to hope that yesterday's developments will bring us closer to an agreement on an aid package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America's families," Pelosi's letter said.
Mnuchin's latest offer was also toasted by GOP senators, who were considering a conference call Saturday morning, according to a Republican familiar with the call who was not authorized to discuss the call publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Many Conservatives are primarily skeptical of so much deficit-funded aid, and Pelosi looked for provisions like extending entitlement to the Affordable Care Act, which landed with one thud.
Pragmatists like Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and politically vulnerable Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, seem poised to "make it big" as Trump wants. But ordinary Republicans - for example, Sens. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, Rick Scott from Florida, and John Barrasso from Wyoming - are firmly against another aid law that is so generous.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remains skeptical of the chances of a deal after telling an audience in Kentucky on Friday that he hadn't seen a deal before election day.
"I think it's unlikely in the next three weeks," McConnell said on Friday. He later said that "the Supreme Court is the Senate's first priority," suggesting that before the November 3rd election is not the time for both an auxiliary bill and the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court to edit.
President Donald Trump has been represented around the world, first as one of the forces for a deal, then as the conclusion of talks on Tuesday to revive them by the end of the weeks.
On Tuesday, he ordered an end to the week-long talks after being told that few Republicans in Congress would vote for a possible Pelosi-Mnuchin deal. Now, after a political brawl, Trump is pushing for a deal, motivated by the prospect of sending $ 1,200 direct payments to voters before November.
From Saturday's Senate GOP conference call, it emerges that skepticism or outright opposition has not changed.
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