Trump, just hours earlier, told Fox Business’s Stuart Varney that he believed there was a chance a pre-election stimulus deal might come about despite the dwindling time and stalled talks.
Trump cited increasing pressure on House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi to reach a deal to mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. “”
He admitted that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has so far failed to convince them to agree to the GOP’s preferred gradual approach.
But McConnell, mirroring his GOP members who recently attacked White House officials over the size of their latest $ 1.8 trillion proposal, has been cool about the stimulus approach Trump is promoting for more than a week holds securely. He specifically said Thursday he would not hit an agreement in the $ 1
Instead, McConnell plans to come up with a $ 500 billion proposal next week – about a quarter of what Pelosi and Mnuchin are currently debating. When asked about the Trump administration’s ongoing higher-level negotiations, McConnell admitted that they are still ongoing. But he made it clear that he was going in a different direction.
“I’m not going to put this on the floor,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky.
“The government is ready to go there,” McConnell said of Trump’s proposed topline figure of $ 1.8 trillion. “My members think that what we have planned, half a trillion dollars, very focused, is the best way to go.”
When asked if a compromise in the higher range was possible, McConnell said, “I don’t think so.”
McConnell’s comments effectively put an end to any possibility of a large-scale stimulus agreement being passed before the election – something that most of Capitol Hill had accepted was out of reach in the past few days.
Even Mnuchin, who is said to have another call to Pelosi on Thursday, admitted this week that “doing something before the elections and doing this would be difficult, given where we are.”
That McConnell was ready earlier this week to move on to the more targeted coronavirus-fighting proposal next week – a proposal similar to a proposal already blocked by Senate Democrats – was confirmation that the prospects for a broader deal were rapidly disappearing. It’s a stark reality for millions of unemployed, thousands of small businesses on the verge of failure, and schools that have repeatedly stated that they need new help to address the shortfalls caused by the pandemic.
While the total cost differential of the competing proposals has narrowed significantly over the past week at Trump’s insistence, the crux of the dispute between Pelosi and the administration goes deep into the specific political details of the proposal.
Pelosi had previously rejected the $ 1.8 trillion as insufficient on several key fronts, and talks are again stuck with no clear path forward.
Still, Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke on the phone on Wednesday, and Mnuchin said Thursday morning on CNBC that he was ready to “fundamentally agree” with one of the key standout sticking points: the specifics of a national testing, tracking and surveillance strategy.
However, that agreement in principle, which Mnuchin said would come, came as a surprise to Democrats, who believed they were still far apart on the details after Wednesday’s trade proposals.
Trump also claimed Thursday that he directed Mnuchin to put the more than $ 1.8 trillion offer on the table, but “he hasn’t come home with the bacon so far.” He also said Republicans would be ready to join an even higher topline number, which Republicans in both chambers have privately made clear to their leaders is a non-runner.
When asked why he wouldn’t simply agree to the House Democrats’ $ 2.2 trillion offer, Trump accused Pelosi of “ingesting all kinds of goodies”.
“She asks for all kinds of goodies. She wants to save badly governed democracies and cities. She wants money for things that you would never do, you just couldn’t – just – your pride couldn’t allow it,” he said.
The Trump administration has made several attempts to negotiate with House Democrats, but Pelosi has so far turned down their offers, which alleged significant differences on a number of key elements, from the amount of funding to state and local governments Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Schools are categorized according to the size of child tax credits and liability coverage.
The setback prompted Trump’s two top negotiators, Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, to urge lawmakers to pass a stand-alone law on small business support.
Despite the current lack of buy-ins among Republicans on the hill, Trump told Fox Business that additional spending would be on board.
“Yes, I will (higher than $ 1.8 trillion) and so will the Republicans. Because we like stimuli, we want stimuli and we think we should have stimuli because it was China’s fault,” he said.