President Donald Trump has long been pushing the lawmakers to come up with the next relief package quickly. On Saturday again, he made a plea from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he was admitted after he tested positive for COVID-19. In a tweet, Trump urged Congress to come up with the coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks quickly.
Trump’s tweet came amid reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin failed to strike a deal. Despite the negotiations, the two have been unable to reach a consensus. Mnuchin did present an offer of $1.6 trillion, the highest so far, but it was rejected by Pelosi.
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Meanwhile, the House Democrats have passed the HEROES Act 2.0 costing about $2.2 trillion. This bill, however, is unlikely to become law because Senate Republicans aren’t willing to spend more than $1 trillion on the next relief package.
Along with Trump, other factors are also putting pressure on Congress to pass another relief package. Coronavirus cases are rising in several states, and the pandemic still poses a threat to the economy.
Moreover, with Trump now contracting the virus, many believe that Republicans will understand the gravity of the situation. On Friday, talking about Trump’s diagnosis, Pelosi said this “kind of changes the dynamic” of the relief talks because Republicans will see “this is a vicious virus.”
Also, an unexpectedly weak September jobs report gives one more reason to come up with the relief package quickly. The September jobs report raised concerns that the boost from the earlier stimulus benefits is fading.
In addition to all these, the persistent pressure from Trump could also sway some Republicans to embrace a bigger relief package. Last month also Trump called on Republicans to support a more expensive plan.
Difference now is only $600 billion
The two sides now are not very far apart in terms of the cost of the overall package. On Thursday night, Democrats approved an updated HEROES Act costing $2.2 trillion. The White House, on the other hand, made a counteroffer of $1.6 trillion.
Both now agree on several provisions, including coronavirus stimulus checks, aid to small businesses, relief for airlines and more. The two, however, differ on many provisions as well, including unemployment insurance, aid to state and local governments, child tax credit, money for Covid-19 testing and tracing and more.
Despite the differences, one positive thing this time is that the two sides have still not called off the talks. Rather they have agreed to continue negotiations. Hopefully, the negotiations this week will allow the lawmakers to resolve this difference of about $600 billion.
If the two sides are able to reach a deal this week, there are still chances that Americans may get coronavirus stimulus checks before the November election.