WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — It’s unclear whether President Donald Trump’s newfound support for a large stimulus package, near $2 trillion, will translate to Senate Republicans following suit and negotiating with Democrats on a coronavirus relief deal.
“I’m ready to sign a big beautiful stimulus. You saw the other day I said go big or go home,” said President Donald Trump Thursday night at a town hall style interview. After the President encouraged Congress to “Go big” on a stimulus bill, some Senate Republicans have publicly signaled they’d be willing to follow that advice..
“I want to go big. I want to do $1,200 [stimulus checks], I want money for schools, I want another round of PPP loans,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina.
NewsNation’s reporting shows, however, that Graham is still likely in the minority of his own part. For months, most Senate Republicans pushed for a smaller, targeted package. Few have publicly changed their willingness to negotiate a larger deal.
“I think we need a big stimulus package, but we don’t need to do what the House did,” said Graham, referencing criticism that Democrats included too many non-Covid related measures in their $2.2 trillion stimulus package.
“I think it depends on what’s in it,” said Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. He didn’t rule out a $2 trillion package, but Cornyn says it’ll require good faith negotiation from Democrats. “If the speaker were serious about solving this problem, we could do it in an afternoon.”
“Unfortunately we do seem to be weeks off relief,” said Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Brown says Republicans’ shifting positions to align with the President doesn’t make him more hopeful for a deal. Brown says the President’s view won’t mean much if Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t support a larger deal.
“I don’t see any way that McConnell, so far, is movable, unfortunately,” said Brown.
“I had to lay off 1,500 of our 1,800 employees,” said Bob Giaimo, owner of the restaurant chain Silver Diner, “It was the hardest day of my life.”
Business owners like Giaimo say the longer Congress delays passing a relief bill, the more likely his employees’ hardship becomes permanent. “I would ask them to please get outside and see how this is impacting people’s lives.”
Giaimo says he has a direct message to lawmakers:
“Do what we do in the restaurant and business industries. When we have a problem, we work through the night. I think they have to not stop until they solve the problem.”