With less than three weeks left for the November election, President Donald Trump is pushing lawmakers to speed up efforts to approve the next stimulus package. Trump, did the same on Monday, urging lawmakers to hurry up with the Supreme Court confirmation so that they can focus on getting the coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks.
Trump, in a tweet on Monday, said that Republicans had given a “great deal of time” to Democrats during the confirmation hearings. Further, Trump added that he would “pull back, approve and go for STIMULUS for the people.”
The Republicans are giving the Democrats a great deal of time, which is not mandated, to make their self serving statements relative to our great new future Supreme Court Justice. Personally, I would pull back, approve, and go for STIMULUS for the people!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2020
Democrats are not in favor of confirming the Supreme Court nominee with the Presidential election so close. Also, they don’t support holding the in-person hearing at a time when at least two Senate Judiciary Committee members tested positive for Covid-19 recently.
These hearing, which started on Monday, are scheduled through Thursday, after which the Committee will vote on whether or not to move forward on Judge Barrett’s nomination (Trump’s nominee) for a vote in the Senate. If things go as per the schedule, then Barrett’s confirmation could come by next week.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, expects the Committee to approve Barrett by October 22, while the Senate confirmation could come before the end of October.
Democrats are also criticizing the short confirmation timetable, arguing that the confirmation would come at the expense of the stimulus package, which could give coronavirus stimulus checks, unemployment benefits and support to small businesses.
“We shouldn't be spending time on this when we are doing absolutely nothing to pass a much-needed COVID bill," Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said on Monday.
Biden criticized the Trump administration as well for prioritizing confirmation over support to the economy. "In the middle of this pandemic, why do the Republicans have the time to hold a hearing on the Supreme Court instead of providing the significant economic need to localities?” Biden said.
Current status of relief package
Talking about the status on the next stimulus package, the negotiations are still ongoing. Last week, the White House made an offer of $1.8 trillion, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected it, calling it “grossly inadequate” to address the needs of Americans. Pelosi is demanding a $2.2 trillion package.
Pelosi is also complaining about the Trump administration's plans for aid to state and local governments, tax credits for families and federal unemployment benefits.
In an interview to Fox & Friends on Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany noted that Republicans would eventually “come along with” the Trump administration’s proposal for the next stimulus package. However, there hasn’t been any hint from GOP leadership that they are backing Trump’s proposal.
On Sunday, the Trump administration also called on Congress to pass legislation to use the unused funds, about $130 billion, lying in the Paycheck Protection Program.