Mark Meadows, the chief of staff to President Donald Trump, said on August 16 that the White House wants to “get a stimulus check out.” That would be good news to millions of Americans who have been hoping for a second COVID-19 stimulus check, but there’s a huge catch: The White House needs Congress to get that done.
Still, Meadows’ comments – and comments from the president shortly before – indicate the White House’s determination to keep stimulus checks front and center in the public debate, even as Democrats shift the focus to postal funding. The clashes over the latter have – again – stalled a second round of stimulus checks.
“If my Democrat friends are all upset about this, come back to Washington, D.C.,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN’s “State of the Union.” (Watch the full video of Meadows’ comments on CNN here.)
“Let’s go ahead and get a stimulus check out to Americans. Let’s make sure that small businesses are protected with an extended [Payroll Protection] Program and put the postal funding in there. We’ll pass it tomorrow. The president will sign it…Democrats are trying to use this to their political advantage.”
The problem is that both sides haven’t reached an agreement. Trump signed a series of executive orders dealing with elements of stimulus relief, but the Constitution gives Congress funding authority, and the president didn’t include a second round of stimulus checks in those orders. Since that time, Republicans and Democrats haven’t made meaningful moves toward a deal; Democrats want $3.4 trillion but are willing to come down a trillion, and Republicans wanted a package of just over $1 trillion but haven’t budged on the number.
Both sides generally agreed with giving Americans a second stimulus check largely like the first ($1,200 for each qualifying person and $3,400 for a family of four). However, stimulus checks are part of the larger plan, and, on that, the two sides can’t agree.
Then, Congress broke for its summer session. It’s not supposed to return until Labor Day. According to Fox News, over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested she might call the House back to deal with the postal funding issue, which Trump’s administration is now linking to a second round of stimulus relief and checks.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Skirmish Over Postal Funding Has Stalled a Second Check
Democrats in Congress are focused on getting funding to avoid disruption in the U.S. Postal Service, which they believe Trump is using to reduce the chances of a mail-in election. For his part, the president has focused on voter fraud as a concern, as well as opposing universal mail-in ballots.
“Alarmingly, across the nation, we see the devastating effects of the President’s campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters,” Pelosi said, according to The Washington Post.
The postal funding issue has opened up a new line of major division between Democrats and Republicans that has again stalled negotiations that could lead to a second stimulus check going out to Americans.
Meadows indicated to CNN that Trump “doesn’t have a problem with anyone voting by mail.” Trump opposes universal mail-in ballots, Meadows told CNN.
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” Trump wrote on Twitter.
On the CNN program, Meadows tied postal funding to the stimulus package, saying, “If the Democrats feel like this is a big issue … let’s put it with a stimulus check to go to American. He will sign that … whether it’s $10 billion or $25 billion or something in between, we can do that.”
He added on the CNN show: “Are they willing to put forth a stimulus check in every American citizen’s hands, are they willing to do that, couple that with the postal reform … if they’re willing to lead on that, the president is willing to sign it.”
Pelosi Says Democrats Have Compromised But the Trump Administration ‘Does Not Grasp the Magnitude’ of Americans’ Problems
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Saturday in a letter to fellow Democrats that the negotiations over the stimulus package have been “complicated by the complete disarray on the Republican side — as President Donald Trump contradicts his own negotiators and his own position.” According to CNN, she said one of the problems is the dispute over funding for state and local governments.
Pelosi wrote on Twitter on August 12, “Democrats have compromised. Repeatedly, we have made clear to the Trump Admin that we are willing to come down $1 trillion if they will come up $1 trillion. However, it is clear that the Admin still does not grasp the magnitude of the problems that American families are facing.”
According to Fox8, Pelosi has said people will die if a relief package doesn’t get done. Fox 8 reported that she said, “Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gave a damn,” when asked if she would accept a smaller package. “That isn’t the case.”