President Trump is ready to spend $2 trillion or more on another COVID stimulus package if White House negotiators can reach a deal with Democrats.
“We remain committed to negotiating and also committed to making sure that we get a deal as quickly as possible,” said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. “If Nancy Pelosi will be reasonable, she’ll find the president of the United States to be reasonable, and we’ll get something across the finish line.”
The Trump Administration this week increased its offer to $1.9 trillion, up from $1.6 trillion when Democrats had pushed for $2.2 trillion in early October.
Aside from the dollar amount, sticking points include the GOP’s support for a series of stand-alone bills and Democrats’ attempts to pass a massive package that includes a blue-state bailout.
Last weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-NY) announced a 48-hour deadline to reach an agreement. If no deal is reached by EOD Tuesday, the chances of another stimulus package being approved before Election Day are slim.
“I want the money by tonight, but Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it because she thinks it’s good politically for her not to approve it,” argues President Trump. “She wants to bail out poorly-run Democrat states. And we don’t want to do that. I don’t think she wants to approve it anyway. I think even if we gave her the money for the poorly-run Democrat states, I don’t think she’d approve it anyway.”
Trump is confident in his ability to sway Republican Senators if a deal is reached without their support. “If I had something that would be good, I think I could quickly convince the Republicans to do it,” he said, adding that he is ready to match the initial $2.2 trillion offer made by Democrats.
That number is “a much larger amount than I can sell to my members,” warns Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who favors a $650 billion package that would provide another round of direct payments, boost unemployment benefits by $300 per week, and aid schools and universities as they reopen. The proposal does not provide funding for state and local governments.
If lawmakers fail to reach a deal and Joe Biden wins the election, it could be five or more months before we see another stimulus package. Accepting a compromise may require Pelosi to give up her precious bailout and her tax cuts for the lower class, but it would provide immediate relief to the millions of struggling Americans who lost supplemental unemployment benefits this summer.
In the meantime, lawmakers are pushing to renew the Paycheck Protection Program and to expedite the confirmation of SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett.