The Trump administration and Congress have agreed to pass law to avoid a government shutdown without tying funding to separate measures like coronavirus relief, Vice President Mike Pence said Friday.
Approving a so-called rolling resolution that would temporarily bring federal spending to current levels would not feed the heated pandemic aid policy into efforts to keep the government going.
“Now we can only focus on one more relief bill, and we continue to do so in good faith,”
Government funds will be forfeited if Congress doesn’t pass the laws before the end of the month. There has been speculation that Congressmen might try to include coronavirus relief measures in a spending package to leverage economic negotiations that have made little progress since they broke up last month.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC on April 7, 2020.
Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Pence’s comments on Friday indicated a stalemate as to how much money could be left to stimulate the economy. Democrats have urged the Trump administration to raise the price of its stimulus offer from about $ 1.3 trillion to at least $ 2.2 trillion. The White House hasn’t moved yet.
Pence criticized the Democrats for perhaps the biggest sticking point remaining in the talks. Democratic leaders want more than $ 900 billion in new aid to financially troubled state and local governments, while the Trump administration has offered $ 150 billion.
“We will not allow Democrats in Congress to use a coronavirus relief bill to save poorly run democratic states,” the vice president said.
The non-partisan National Governors Association has asked for at least $ 500 billion more in state and local aid. Governments have warned of possible cuts to essential services as they have incurred more costs and lost revenue during the pandemic.
Pence repeatedly called for another round of stimulus checks as part of the fifth coronavirus rescue package. He said: “Nobody wants to make more direct payments to American families than Donald Trump.”
The vice president spoke to CNBC after the Department of Labor reported that the number of non-farm workers in the United States rose by 1.37 million and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%. Pence called the data “real evidence that the American comeback is underway”.
The unemployment rate is still significantly higher than it was before the Covid-19 outbreak in the US earlier this year. Permanent job losses also increased by 534,000 to 3.4 million in August.
“8.4% unemployment is nothing to brag about,” wrote Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Senate Minority, DN.Y., in response to President Donald Trump’s tweet Friday morning in celebration of the job report.
Chuck Schumer tweeted
Despite four consecutive months of strong job growth, the end of improved unemployment insurance and a federal eviction moratorium has raised concerns about greater suffering for many Americans. Even so, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Bloomberg after Friday’s job report that “we can live with not getting a coronavirus relief deal,” according to Reuters.
In the absence of action by Congress to combat this and other coronavirus relief measures, the Trump administration has taken limited steps to offer help on its own.
On Tuesday, the White House suspended evictions by the end of the year using the authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It followed government executive action to temporarily provide additional unemployment benefits to some Americans, continue student loan assistance, and distribute employee’s share of payroll taxes.
Senate Republicans want to pick up on a tight pandemic relief plan when they return from their August break next week. Democrats oppose the roughly $ 500 billion proposal, which means it is unlikely to get through Congress and become law.
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