President Donald Trump made a remark on Monday that may be inferred in more than one way. On Tuesday, Trump urged the lawmakers to pass another coronavirus stimulus package and checks, saying that the Congress should “go big or go home.”
This tweet from Trump likely puts an end to the talks of standalone bills. Last week, after ending negotiations abruptly, Trump asked Congress to only pass standalone stimulus bills for coronavirus stimulus checks, aid to airlines and more. However, two days later, Trump restarted the negotiations.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has long been against standalone bills, and now, Trump’s tweet also suggests that he only wants a broader stimulus package, which includes coronavirus stimulus checks.
Another takeaway of Trump’s tweet is the possible rift between the White House and Senate. Trump, after he came up with a $1.8 trillion offer, has received pushback from Senate Republicans, who are not in favor of a large package.
Now, his tweet to go big on the stimulus package also appears in stark contrast to what the Senate Republicans want. Moreover, Trump’s tweet also undermines an announcement made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just an hour before Trump’s tweet.
McConnell, on Tuesday, announced that the Senate would vote next week on a targeted relief bill for American workers. This bill would give assistance to small businesses through the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program).
“When the full Senate returns on October 19th, our first order of business will be voting again on targeted relief for American workers, including new funding for the PPP,” McConnell said in a statement.
Is there a rift between White House and Senate?
Tuesday’s remarks from Trump and McConnell do suggest a rift between the White House and Senate. Democrats clearly see this split. Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin commented that Trump and McConnell are not working together.
"What I hear from Senator McConnell is once again, 'Take a little piece and be satisfied.' And what I hear from the president [is] just the opposite. Can the two of them sit down and agree? Wouldn't that be a breakthrough?" Durbin told reporters Tuesday
The White House, on the other hand, doesn’t believe there is any division between the president and GOP over the next stimulus package. In an interview to “Fox & Friends” on Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Republicans would eventually “come along with what the president wants.”
Separately, talking about the status of the stimulus negotiations, there hasn’t been any new development since Pelosi rejected Trump’s $1.8 trillion offer. Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, suggested last week that Trump could agree to a stimulus package costing more than $1.8 trillion, or even bigger than the $2.2 trillion figure that Democrats are demanding.
However, there haven’t been any words on this bigger package since then.