Trump on Saturday, November 14, took to Twitter to urge lawmakers to approve a second stimulus bill. He claimed the package should be “big and focused” and requires the backing of Democrats.
“Congress must now do a Covid Relief Bill,” the president tweeted. “Needs Democrats support. Make it big and focused. Get it done!”
Negotiations are still at an impasse as lawmakers continue to argue over the overall cost of the next bill. Democrats are seeking substantial state and local government funding, while Republicans are pushing for employer liability shields, according to a late-October story in the Chicago Tribune.
The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been discussing a package between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion, but the talks fell apart leading up to the November 3 election, Business Insider reported.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now heading up an effort for a smaller, Senate-backed stimulus proposal as the administration steps back from negotiations, the outlet continued.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump’s Statement Sends Mixed Signals
According to WGN, Trump’s November 14 tweet is confusing at best, using “two terms that have largely been contradictory during the negotiation process.”
The president’s call for a “big” bill could be interpreted as including another round of direct stimulus checks, according to WGN. “Prior to the election, the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed any approved package would include stimulus checks,” WGN said.
Democrats have pushed for a big-ticket plan that features new federal unemployment benefits, another round of $1,200 payments and additional state and local government aid, the outlet noted.
The word “targeted,” though, falls in line with McConnell’s recent stance on stimulus, WGN explained.
The Senate majority leader on November 11 argued that a massive stimulus bill is not necessary to reboot the economy, claiming its recovery has been “stronger and faster than anyone predicted.”
“Our country needs more smart, focused relief that is targeted to schools, healthcare, small businesses, & those who are hurting the most,” McConnell tweeted. “Not the absurd multi-trillion-dollar socialist wish-lists Democrats have demanded.”
The Senate majority leader claimed that the next package should look like Senate Republicans’ previous $500 billion proposal — which was blocked by Senate Democrats before the election, according to CNBC.
In October, McConnell announced plans for a standalone vote for additional Paycheck Protection Program funds, which offer loans to small businesses struggling to stay open during the pandemic. USA Today said the vote was “a mostly symbolic vote on the reauthorization” of the program because Democrats “oppose standalone bills on the issue.”
If a Deal Isn’t Reached in the Next Few Weeks, It Will Fall on Biden’s New Administration
If a stimulus agreement is not reached within the next few weeks, getting a deal done will fall on Biden’s new administration.
The president-elect cites economic recovery as one of his “Day One” priorities on the Biden-Harris transition website.
Biden’s plan promises to provide extra funding for state, local and tribal governments, extend “COVID crisis unemployment insurance to help those who are out of work” and create jobs through a Public Health Job Corps, among other measures, according to the website.
It does not directly mention stimulus checks.
Pelosi, meanwhile, has expressed that she has no desire to settle for a smaller deal.
The House Speaker and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on November 11 that they will continue to fight for a larger package.
Schumer added that Democrats would block any legislation resembling the GOP’s earlier $500 billion proposal, calling it “emaciated” and a “nonstarter.”