WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump says stimulus negotiations are off until after the election.
“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” President Trump announced on Twitter. “I have asked (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell not to delay, but to instead focus full time on approving my outstanding nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett.”
Hours later, Trump appeared to edge back a bit from his call to end negotiations. He took to Twitter again and called on Congress to send him a “Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200)” — a reference to a pre-election batch of direct payments to most Americans that had been a central piece of negotiations between Pelosi and the White House. Pelosi has generally rejected taking a piecemeal approach to COVID relief.
“I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?” Trump said in a flurry of tweets Tuesday evening. He also called on Congress to immediately approve $25 billion for airlines and $135 billion the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the White House in “complete disarray.”
“Walking away from coronavirus talks demonstrates that President Trump is unwilling to crush the virus, as is required by the Heroes Act. He shows his contempt for science, his disdain for our heroes – in health care, first responders, sanitation, transportation, food workers, teachers, teachers, teachers and others – and he refuses to put money in workers’ pockets, unless his name is printed on the check,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin were set to meet again Tuesday in hopes of striking a deal on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package that both sides have agreed will include a new round of direct payments to most Americans.
Pelosi and Mnunchin have tried to reach an agreement throughout the past few weeks. The pair had multiple meetings lasting more than an hour.
Pelosi said Friday, she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were “coming to terms” on a bipartisan relief package.
In addition to settling on a financial figure for the package, the GOP and Democratic leadership still have to deal with the language of the legislation, which remains a major roadblock. In particular, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s insistence on a liability shield for businesses fearing COVID-related lawsuits after they reopen their doors.
What isn’t an issue is stimulus checks. Both Pelosi and Mnuchin have said direct payments will be part of any approved package.
As negotiations dragged out without coming to terms, Pelosi pushed a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill through the House last week.
A $1.6 trillion White House plan gave ground with a $250 billion proposal on funding for state and local governments. Mnuchin’s offer of a $400 per week jobless benefit put him in the same ballpark as Democrats backing a $600 benefit.
The GOP price tag of $1.6 trillion or more could drive many Republicans away, however, even as it failed to satisfy Pelosi.
Stimulus relief for Americans was the first piece of business President Donald Trump tweeted about from inside Walter Reed over the weekend:
“OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!”
“Today, once again, President Trump showed his true colors: putting himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the GOP Members of Congress.
Walking away from coronavirus talks demonstrates that President Trump is unwilling to crush the virus, as is required by the Heroes Act. He shows his contempt for science, his disdain for our heroes – in health care, first responders, sanitation, transportation, food workers, teachers, teachers, teachers and others – and he refuses to put money in workers’ pockets, unless his name is printed on the check.
At the same time, the President is abandoning meeting the needs of our children as they adjust to learning in-person, virtual or hybrid. Instead, Trump is wedded to his $150 billion tax cut for the wealthiest people in America from the CARES Act, while he refuses to give real help to poor children, the unemployed and America’s hard working families.
Clearly, the White House is in complete disarray. Sadly, they are rejecting the urgent warnings of Fed Chairman Powell today, that ‘Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses. Over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies would rise, harming the productive capacity of the economy and holding back wage growth. By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller. Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste.’”Speaker of the house nancy pelosi
This story will be updated throughout the day with the latest developments.
The Associated Press, Reuters and Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.