Stimulus Package 2: ‘We Want Skinny’ Bill, Trump Speaker Says

stimulus package 2 White House

Getty U.S. President Donald Trump.

The White House is sending mixed signals to Congressional lawmakers as they scramble to pass another round of coronavirus relief before Election Day.

President Donald Trump announced earlier this week that he was halting all negotiations until after the November 3 election, allowing lawmakers to focus on the Supreme Court nomination. He then backtracked soon after, calling for “standalone bills” tailored toward direct stimulus checks and airline assistance instead.

On October 8, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — who represents the president — expressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the administration supports passing a more broad and comprehensive plan, according to Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill.

But White House communications director Alyssa Farah contradicted those claims that same day, The Washington Post reported.

“We’ve made very clear we want a skinny package,” Farah said in a White House pool report obtained by the newspaper.

Hamill pointed out the contradictory remarks on Twitter, claiming Pelosi trusts that Mnuchin “speaks for the president.”

“The Speaker pointed out that, unfortunately, the White House Communications Director contradicted that assertion during their call,” he tweeted. “The Speaker trusts that the Secretary speaks for the President.”

The Washington Post reported that Mnuchin and Pelosi are still in communication.

Here’s what you need to know:

Pelosi & Mnuchin Have Been Discussing a Package Ranging Between $1.6 Trillion &  $2.2 Trillion

stimulus package 2 White House

GettyU.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer participate in a news conference August 7, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Prior to Trump’s push for standalone bills, Pelosi and Mnuchin expressed positive outlooks last week on finding a solution soon, The New York Times reported. Their enthusiasm was then followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Kentucky event on October 2.

“I’m trying to figure out here whether I should predict another bill quickly or not,” McConnell detailed, according to NYT. “But the talks have speeded up in the last couple of days. I think we’re closer to getting an outcome.”

The Treasury secretary had recently offered a counterproposal of $1.6 trillion to House Democrats’ updated $2.2 trillion HEROES Act, but neither has appeared to move forward.

Trump’s Administration Is Pushing for Standalone Bills, Including Airline Assistance & Another Round of Stimulus Checks

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow expressed on CNBC Wednesday, October 7, that the White House is turning its attention to the Supreme Court nomination. He explained that only a small legislative window remains until the upcoming presidential election.

“We’ve only got four weeks to the election, and we have a justice of the Supreme Court to get passed. It’s too close to the election — not enough time to get stuff done at this stage in the game,” the National Economic Council Director said during the CNBC interview.

“What the president was saying is, ‘We’re too far apart for a gigantic bill.’”

Kudlow has been a vocal advocate on behalf of the White House in funneling extra federal aid toward small businesses, airline assistance and another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.

Pelosi said on October 8 that she would only consider airline assistance if it was part of a larger package.

“The only point about negotiations is, ain’t gonna be no stand-alone bill unless there’s a bigger bill, and it could be part of that or it could be in addition to that,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference.

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