After months of stalled negotiations, President Donald Trump is prepared to make a deal with Democrats on another round of coronavirus relief, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
The president met with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday, October 9, to iron out the kinks of a plan to offer House Speaker Nancy Pelosi later that day, Kudlow said on Fox Business.
“The president has approved a revised package,” he expressed. “He would like to do a deal.”
While Kudlow couldn’t go into the specifics of the bill, he added that it would be “relatively broad-based” — marking a change in stance from the administration’s previous calls for standalone bills.
CNBC reported that the new offer is in the ballpark of $1.8 trillion, a slight increase from the White House’s earlier $1.6 trillion counterproposal to House Democrats’ $2.2 trillion updated HEROES Act.
Here’s what you need to know:
Pelosi & Mnuchin Met for More Than 30 Minutes on Friday Afternoon
The Speaker and Secretary Mnuchin spoke at 1:40 p.m. via phone for just over 30 minutes. Today, the Secretary returned to the table with a proposal that attempted to address some of the concerns Democrats have. (1/2)
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) October 9, 2020
Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke over the phone on Friday for more than half an hour, according to Pelosi’s spokesperson Drew Hammill.
Hammill tweeted that the Treasury secretary sought to “address some of the concerns Democrats have,” while continuing to negotiate the overall cost of a package.
“Of special concern, is the absence of an agreement on a strategic plan to crush the virus. For this and other provisions, we are still awaiting language from the Administration as negotiations on the overall funding amount continue,” Hammill wrote.
The overall price tag for the next round of relief has been a major sticking point for negotiators, with several failed attempts to pass Democrats’ revised $2.2 trillion updated HEROES Act, Mnuchin’s $1.6 trillion counterproposal and Senate Republicans’ former “skinny bill.”
Trump Sent Mixed Signals on Friday, Urging Negotiators to ‘Go Big’
Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2020
Trump sent mixed signals Friday when he urged lawmakers to “Go Big!” prior to Pelosi and Mnuchin’s meeting. He then told radio host Rush Limbaugh, “I would like to see a bigger stimulus package frankly than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering.”
The president’s statements are a change in tune after he announced on October 6 that he was halting all stimulus talks until after the election so lawmakers could focus on filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Trump later backtracked, instead advocating for “standalone bills” focused on direct stimulus checks and airline assistance.
Two days later, Mnuchin expressed to Pelosi that the administration supported passing a broader, more comprehensive plan, according to Hammill on Twitter. That same day, White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah contradicted those claims, The Washington Post said, claiming the White House was determined to pursue a “skinny package.”
Pressure is mounting for lawmakers to pass legislation before the upcoming November election, as millions of people struggle to make ends meet in the midst of the pandemic.
With job growth plateauing, Americans have now gone roughly two months without the federally funded extended unemployment benefits, according to The New York Times.
“An estimated one of every seven small businesses in the United States had shut down permanently by the end of August — 850,000 in all — according to data from Womply, a marketing platform,” the newspaper wrote. “The deeper those wounds, the longer the economy will take to heal.”