Trump Asks Lawmakers for No-Nonsense COVID Legislation
President Trump on Tuesday said he is ready to sign legislation that provides much-needed aid to airlines and small businesses as well as another round of stimulus checks.
Problem is, Democratic lawmakers keep trying to insert their pet projects into coronavirus relief proposals.
“If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY,” tweeted Trump on Tuesday. “I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?”
Hours earlier, Trump postponed talks with Democratic lawmakers about a broader COVID package until after the election.
‘Walking away from coronavirus talks demonstrates the President Trump is unwilling to crush the virus,” complained House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who described Trump’s preference for stand-alone bills as a “missed opportunity.”
Earlier this month, the Trump Administration proposed a $1.6 trillion aid package as a counter after House Democrats approved a $2.2 trillion aid package. Pelosi rejected proposal as “inadequate.”
The primary difference between the two bills is the inclusion of funds for state and local governments, something Republicans view as a sort of ‘blue-state bailout.’ As Trump has argued, the Dems are just trying to save Democrat-run, high crime jurisdictions in the guise of COVID relief.
The stand-alone bill with the highest rate of success would be one that helps the airline industry.
“[Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin] and I have been talking about what we could do with stand-alone bills to help airlines, small businesses, and the American people with stimulus checks, so hopefully we can convince Speaker Pelosi to do something on a stand-alone basis,” said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Without federal intervention, airlines could be forced to cut tens of thousands of jobs following the expiration of a $25 billion bailout included in the CARES Act.
“The past week has dealt a crushing blow to the American Airlines team and the aviation industry, and we were hoping that overwhelming bipartisan support for the Payroll Support Program would result in immediate action to protect jobs and service to communities across the country,” said a company spokesperson. “We will continue to make the case in Washington that action is needed to help workers across the country and lead America to the other side of this pandemic.”
Both sides agree that Americans are in desperate need of financial help. Even the Federal Reserve has called on lawmakers to provide more fiscal support for the struggling economy.
President Trump is ready to sign, but the Democrats would rather pursue their own agenda than approve legislation that gets money into the hands of American workers.
The economic recovery spurred by the reopening of businesses has slowed, and several sectors continue to struggle with the effects of COVID. Job postings are becoming less frequent and some layoffs are becoming permanent. Boosted unemployment benefits have expired and consumer spending has plummeted.
The US economy added 661,000 jobs in September, far less than the expected 800,000. The unemployment rate is currently sitting at 7.9%, the highest it has been prior to a presidential election since we started keeping track of this statistic in 1948. Roughly 10.7 million Americans who lost their jobs due to the pandemic have not returned to work. More than 100 million are at risk of poverty.