U.S. coronavirus aid prospects uncertain after Trump blasts Democrats

By David Morgan and Susan Cornwell

High-level negotiations on a new coronavirus aid bill faced a setback on Wednesday when President Donald Trump accused Democrats of being unwilling to craft an acceptable compromise, despite reports of some progress earlier in the day.

Trump, who has recently called for more stimulus as he trails in national opinion polls ahead of next month's election, blasted House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a tweet after she pushed for a roughly $2 trillion proposal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

It was unclear whether the negotiations would continue or go dormant until after the Nov 3 presidential and congressional elections.

Trump's tweet came amid deep opposition among Senate Republicans to a large new coronavirus stimulus bill that would aid Americans and businesses impacted by the pandemic. Some conservatives worry that another big government expenditure could hurt their November election prospects by adding to rapidly rising budget deficits.

Trump on Twitter said he did not believe Democrats "will be willing to do what is right for our great American workers, or our wonderful USA itself, on Stimulus."

Trump's accusation came shortly after Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said in a tweet that Pelosi and Mnuchin had spoken for 48 minutes and their conversation "brings us closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation."

Pelosi said earlier that a key provision sought by Democrats, money to help state and local governments grappling with the pandemic, was still unresolved.

At the same time, Republicans in Congress have questioned whether Pelosi actually wanted to reach a deal before the election or preferred to wait until after Nov. 3 when Democrats might have the upper hand if they win the presidency and more seats in Congress.

Earlier in the day, Pelosi told MSNBC that she wanted the bill to pass before Nov. 3, although her Republican counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has not been an enthusiastic supporter.

"I want people to know, help is on the way," she said.

Trump's attack on Democrats was one more turn in a bewildering negotiation that has seen the president previously call an end to negotiations, only to subsequently say that he urgently wanted a deal and one that was even bigger than Democrats had been seeking.

Pelosi and Mnuchin have been hammering out the details of a relief package that could be in the range of $2.2 trillion, the number Democrats have been pushing for months.

McConnell does not want to bring a large coronavirus aid bill to the Senate floor before the election, a senior Republican aide said, as he focuses on trying to confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said Wednesday the White House was now looking at $1.9 trillion in relief. Meadows spoke to Fox News after lunching with Republican senators, who he said were concerned about the policy as well as the cost of a new package.

"I don't think our chances get better after election," Meadows told Fox.

Some Senate Republicans also said Wednesday that it might be more difficult to get a relief package passed after the election.

"If we're going to do it this year, I think it’s now or never," said Senator Roy Blunt.

Other Republicans continued to express concern about the proposals under discussion.

Senator Steve Daines, who is in a tight re-election race in Montana, said a "big bone of contention" was the Democrats' proposed spending on state and local governments, saying he objected to the idea that some states with budget problems would be "bailed out" by others.

"We want to get something passed, but having Montana taxpayers bail out California and New York is not the right thing to do."

Senate Republicans have proposed smaller, targeted aid to help an economy reeling from the pandemic, which has infected 8.3 million Americans.

But Democrats seem just as determined not to go along with targeted aid proposals when a larger comprehensive deal appears in reach. A $500 billion Republican aid plan failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate on Wednesday, as Democrats voted to block it.

After quickly passing more than $3 trillion in relief early this year, aimed at addressing the heavy human and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has failed to pass any new measures since April to respond to a disease that has killed more than 221,000 Americans.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


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Pelosi is doing her best to not let a deal pass before the election. Never mind that a deal based on stimulus would benefit those working for a living, it would look bad for the Dems, and -that's- what it's about. Plus, how can the Dems consider the inflated bill they're asking for, which includes items having nothing to do with stimulating the economy?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Pelosi is doing her best to not let a deal pass before the election.

Um, Mitch McConnell is warning his party not to pass a deal before the election:

Once again the hyper-partisans are trying to pretend they are victims of exactly what they are guilty of.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said she believed negotiations with the White House could produce a deal on a fresh COVID-19 relief bill despite Senate Republican opposition, but said it may not happen until after the election.

If Pelosi had actually wanted a deal, instead of a campaign issue, there would have already been a deal.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Playing politics when people are losing their jobs, homes, apartments, and struggling to feed themselves isn't a good look on any incumbent. Saw that some Republicans had sponsored a bill to have Ms. Pelosi removed from the Speaker position due to mental instability and breaking laws.

This aid should have been passed 2 months ago.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Begging for government money is socialism,

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

That is the motto of Democratic Party: After the Election. Ashamed of my native California for continuing to vote in lousy politicians like Pelosi and Newsom as people move out of the State.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Look at the Repubs here - they can't even admit their guy Mitch has sat on a bill for over six months - never brought it to the floor for a vote because his Repub Senators wouldn't support it.

Now, with Pelosi and Mnuchin close to a deal, Mitch knows his caucus won't support it - and is telling the White House NOT to conclude a deal.

Get that Repubs? Your guy is stonewalling a deal to get money to those that desperately need it because HIS Repubs won't support it.

*Washington negotiations on a huge COVID-19 relief bill took a modest step forward on Tuesday, though time is running out and Senate Majority Leader *Mitch McConnell, President Donald Trump’s most powerful Senate ally, is pressing the White House against going forward.

*McConnell on Tuesday told fellow Republicans that he has warned the White House not to divide Republicans by sealing a lopsided $2 trillion relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the election — even as he publicly said he’d slate any such agreement for a vote.*

Before you blame Pelosi, maybe you should ask Mnuchin who is holding things up...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Trump calls for more stimulus. Pelosi gives a stimulus plan of $2.2 trillion. Republicans are angry at the price tag, would prefer $500 billion.

Okay, something doesn't give. Trump asks, Pelosi delivers, Republicans cry. What did you expect to happen?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Flush that dump.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Playing politics when people are losing their jobs, homes, apartments, and struggling to feed themselves isn't a good look on any incumbent. Saw that some Republicans had sponsored a bill to have Ms. Pelosi removed from the Speaker position due to mental instability and breaking laws.

Hmmmmm.... I guess you haven't been keeping up with Fox News lately....

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the White House not to strike a big coronavirus deal before the Nov. 3 election, despite President Trump's public wishes to do so.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So, the Democrats want a 2.2 trillion $ aid bill.

The Republicans want a 500 billion $ one (maybe 1.8 trillion$?).

Which one would you personally favor?

And then Mitch goes out and says: no aid bill until after the election?

Now, what's up with that? Seems some people are not very good at easy calculations.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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