Talks on a new coronavirus stimulus package were sputtering, and now they seem to have gone kaput. President Donald Trump encouraged Republicans Tuesday not to negotiate with Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) until after Election Day, saying the Speaker was failing to negotiate in good faith after she rejected a $1.6 trillion deal from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
“Today, once again, President Trump showed his true colors: putting himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the GOP Members of Congress,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Stimulus talks between Pelosi, White House fizzle out
For months, Republicans and Democrats have made little progress in negotiating a stimulus as Americans continued to suffer the economic shocks of the coronavirus lockdowns. Roughly 11 million workers laid off since the pandemic-related recession began remain unemployed.
The partisan row hardened Tuesday as Trump called on Republicans to stop talking to Pelosi, in a tweet slamming her latest offer as wasteful, echoing familiar Republican criticisms of her stimulus proposals.
Republicans have often criticized Pelosi’s offers, saying they are bloated and seek to take advantage of the pandemic, and Republicans have been fearful of adding to a record-setting deficit that was already exploding after a bipartisan spending spree earlier this year.
Trump riffed on some of those points, reiterating attacks on Pelosi’s putative desire to “bailout” Democratic states, while accusing her of being unreasonable and rejecting a “very generous” $1.6 trillion plan from the White House. Pelosi passed a $2.2 trillion bill through the House along party lines last week.
“Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19,” Trump said.
“We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith. I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our Country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.”
Pelosi, Trump trade barbs
Pelosi and her allies have consistently said that Republicans are not willing to spend enough, with Democrats pointing to the necessity of offsetting budget shortfalls in state governments. Other areas of disagreement include the $600 boost to unemployment, which Democrats want to restore and Republicans want to trim down.
President Trump’s new tack came as a surprise after he called on Congress to quickly pass a deal this weekend, while he was recuperating from the virus at Walter Reed hospital.
“OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS,” he tweeted.