In an attempt to strike a deal on the next coronavirus stimulus package and stimulus checks, President Donald Trump on Saturday raised the offer to $1.8T. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, still rejected it as it was below the $2.2 trillion package that she is asking.
Trump wants to come up with a stimulus package before the election as it could improve his chances of re-election. Pelosi, on the other hand, is now unwilling to budge from her demand of a $2.2 trillion package.
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Even if Pelosi accepts the offer of $1.8 trillion, Trump would have to fret about getting it passed by the Senate Republicans, who haven’t been in favor of spending too much on the relief package. Though the Senate initially came up with the $1 trillion HEALS Act, they later introduced a new package costing about $500 billion.
On Friday, Pelosi's chief of staff, Drew Hammill informed that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi had a phone conversation. Hammill, in a tweet, informed that Mnuchin offered "a proposal that attempted to address some of the concerns Democrats have. Of special concern is the absence of an agreement on a strategic plan to crush the virus."
Hammill also noted that the “negotiations on the overall funding amount continue."
On Saturday, however, Pelosi rejected Trump’s $1.8 trillion offer, calling it "wholly insufficient" for the testing, tracing, and treatment of coronavirus.
Why did Pelosi reject Trump’s offer?
In an open letter sent to fellow Democrats, Pelosi explained why she rejected the latest offer from the White House. She noted that though the offer price is increased, the amount is still insufficient to meet the needs of Americans.
Pelosi said the new offer is "one step forward, two steps back," adding that when Trump says he wants to give a large stimulus package, “his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold."
Talking about the sticking points, Pelosi said they have a disagreement on “many priorities," including the funds for the coronavirus response.
"A key concern is the absence of any response on a strategic plan to crush the virus,” she said, adding the HEROES Act includes such a strategic plan.
Further, Trump’s latest plan changes the rules as to who qualifies as a dependent. Pelosi also gave an example of a family of four (with an annual gross income of $24,000) to show how the HEROES Act would give more in direct relief than Trump's new proposal. She noted that the family could qualify for $9,890 in direct relief when including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, some of the programs that Trump's proposal doesn’t have.
One of the programs under Pelosi’s plan gives parents an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) worth up to $5,920. This benefit, which would be a refund on their 2019 taxes, is for parents who lost all their income in 2020.