President Donald Trump late on Tuesday night, after announcing he was walking away from coronavirus stimulus talks, signaled that he was willing to “immediately” sign a standalone bill that simply sent $1,200 checks to Americans.
Via tweet, Trump told Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that if lawmakers were to send him a bill providing only another round of stimulus checks, he would sign it.
Here’s what you need to know:
After Taking Considerable Heat for Ending Talks on a Stimulus Package, Trump Tweeted That He Was Open to Checks Only
Trump appeared to dash hopes for another round of checks to help out during the health crisis that has also jeopardized many businesses and families’ financial futures on Tuesday when he announced that any negotiations on a second stimulus package would have to wait until after the election.
Pelosi said that Trump had “showed his true colors” earlier, when he said he was instructing his representatives to withdraw from any stimulus negotiations and focus on the Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. What’s more, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had just told the National Association for Business Economics that Congress needed to pass a “robust” stimulus package immediately or risk a rash of bankruptcies and insolvencies, USA Today reported.
Lawmakers of both parties had been negotiating a deal that would have restored enhanced federal unemployment benefits, provided help for the airline industry and expanded coronavirus testing before Trump’s announcement, NBC News reported.
The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all took dives of more than 1% after Trump said he was walking away from stimulus talks on Tuesday afternoon, CNN reported.
However, around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Trump signaled he would sign off on a bill that just provided for stimulus checks.
“If I am sent a [standalone] bill for stimulus checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people immediately,” Trump said. “I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening, Nancy?”
Although Trump tagged Pelosi, she did not immediately issue a response.
Commentators & Even Republican Lawmakers Said Trump Was Sabotaging His Reelection by Ending Stimulus Talks & Urged Him to Reconsider
Trump took heat from political commentators for his abrupt announcement that he would not sign stimulus legislation until after the November election. Jake Tapper, of CNN, called Trump’s statement a “political self-inflicted wound” and Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen also said “taking credit for killing” stimulus bills — and thus stimulus checks — would hurt Trump’s chances for reelection, as well as vulnerable Republican incumbents in Congress.
New York Republican Senator John Katko urged him to reconsider.
“I disagree with the President,” Katko said. “With lives at stake, we cannot afford to stop negotiations on a relief package. The Problem Solvers Caucus has a proposal that both sides agreed on and can bring negotiators back to the table. I strongly urge the President to rethink this move.”
And Republican Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, also called the move a “huge mistake” when speaking to CNBC.
“Waiting until after the election to reach an agreement on the next Covid-19 relief package is a huge mistake,” Collins said. “I have already been in touch with the Secretary of the Treasury, one of the chief negotiators, and with several of my Senate colleagues.”
Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren minced fewer words, calling Trump’s earlier move “despicable,” and adding, “So much for the art of the deal.”
Heavy was unable to immediately reach someone in Pelosi’s press office. In an interview with ABC’s The View morning, however, Pelosi said she couldn’t see “any clear, sane path” from Trump, following his initial announcement.
“He’s rebounding from a terrible mistake he made yesterday, and the Republicans in Congress are going down the drain with him on that,” she said.
Pelosi added that it was still important to come to an agreement with the White House and Republican lawmakers, although she had no intentions of going to the White House, currently the center of a substantial coronavirus outbreak, to negotiate.
“I don’t want to go anywhere near the White House,” she said. “It’s one of the most dangerous places in the country.”