Hopes of another coronavirus stimulus reignited after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi restarted negotiations. Though the two are seemingly close to striking a deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to block any such deal. When President Donald Trump was asked about possible resistance from the GOP over the coronavirus stimulus and checks, he said he would take care of it in “two minutes.”
Trump confident on overcoming GOP resistance
The White House last gave an offer of $1.8 trillion, lower than Pelosi’s demand for a package costing $2.2 trillion. Even though Pelosi rejected this offer, McConnell last week said he wouldn’t put such an offer on the Senate floor. This makes it clear that he won’t be supporting a package higher than this as well, something that the White House is likely considering.
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McConnell, instead, announced that the Senate would vote on targeted relief bills on Tuesday and Wednesday. Mnuchin and Pelosi, however, continued negotiations on the broader bill on Saturday as well. The talks were productive, and the two planned to talk again on Monday.
However, ever since McConnell’s objection, questions have been raised on the need for negotiations. This is because a bill is of no use if it is not approved by the Senate.
Thus, Trump was asked a similar question on the resistance from GOP over the lofty stimulus bill. In reply, Trump said he "will take care of that problem in two minutes." Trump said if he has a deal, he could “quickly convince the Republicans to do it.”
Trump then blamed Pelosi for no deal so far, saying she doesn’t “want to do it…. until after the election.” He again reiterated that he is “ready, willing, and able” to approve a coronavirus stimulus package and wants a “higher number than [Pelosi] wanted."
When pressed on the cost of the bill, Trump said it would be bigger than Pelosi’s proposal. "I'd go higher than her number," he told in an interview with Charles Benson of WTMJ4 Milwaukee on Saturday.
Pelosi, meanwhile, speaking on ABC's "This Week" said the White House has 48 hours to come up with an acceptable stimulus, which could pass before the November election. Mnuchin and Pelosi, who talked over the phone on Saturday, made progress on the stimulus negotiations.
Pelosi said she is optimistic on reaching an agreement before the election. “To that end, we are writing language as we negotiate the priorities, so that we are fully prepared to move forward once we reach agreement," she said.
Pelosi’s deadline effectively expires on Tuesday. So, Trump would have to come up with a decision on the stimulus package rather quickly. If Trump really wants to come up with a GOP backed coronavirus stimulus package and checks before the election, he would not only have to raise his offer, but also give a deal that is agreeable to Pelosi.