The Trump administration makes a $1.8 trillion stimulus offer to Democrats, which includes $400 federal unemployment benefits and $1,200 direct payments

President Donald Trump

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The Trump administration on Friday made a $1.8 trillion stimulus offer to Democrats on Friday, the largest one yet in their fluid negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But she rebuffed it by saying it didn’t provide a fuller plan for COVID-19 testing.

The White House is renewing an aggressive push to pass a government rescue package before the election, only three days after the president ended the talks and sparked criticism from some Republicans — a stark reversal. Democrats, however, did not appear eager to accept the administration’s offer.

“Of special concern, is the absence of an agreement on a strategic plan to crush the virus,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill wrote on Twitter after Pelosi spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday.

He went on: “For this and other provisions, we are still awaiting language from the administration as negotiations on the overall funding amount continue.”

Trump favors a broad economic aid package. He suggested during a radio interview earlier on Friday he could support a stimulus plan bigger than the $2.2 trillion amount Democrats are seeking. He also wrote on Twitter that the aid package should “go big.”

Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2020

The package contains numerous measures to provide more government assistance to individuals and businesses, per The Washington Post, citing two people familiar with the plan. To keep the price tag down, the plan repurposed nearly $400 billion in unspent relief funds from the spring.

Some of the provisions include:

$1,200 direct payments to adults plus $1,000 for each dependent child
$400 weekly federal unemployment benefits (end date unclear)
$300 billion in aid to state and local governments

The latest offer caps a volatile week in stimulus negotiations. Talks between Mnuchin and Pelosi veered in recent days from considering a standalone rescue bill for airlines to cutting a deal on a big government rescue package.

But Trump’s demands for a larger package collide with the economic disposition of many Republicans. Many GOP senators opposed a $1 trillion spending plan that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans introduced earlier this summer, citing their concern over the growing federal debt. 

There was similar GOP opposition to a “skinny” stimulus plan, which Democrats ultimately blocked last month.

“I’ve got a significant percentage of my members who think we’ve done enough and who are alarmed by the amount of national debt,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said at a campaign event in Kentucky on Thursday. He was cool on the prospect of passing a stimulus package before the election on Friday, given the ongoing Supreme Court nomination process of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Meanwhile, Pelosi said on MSNBC that Trump’s about-face was prompted by stocks sliding earlier in the week.

“He got a terrible backlash from it, including in the stock market, which is what he cares about,” she said. “And so then he started to come back little by little, and now a bigger package.”

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Source:: Business Insider


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