President Donald Trump has raised his offer for a new fiscal stimulus package to $1.8tn in a bid to strike a final compromise with congressional Democrats on relief for the US economy before the November election.

The revised bid is higher than the $1.6tn previously floated by the White House but remains lower than the $2.2tn in new spending proposed by Democrats in the House of Representatives, so it may not be sufficient to strike a deal.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, and Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary in the Trump administration, have been holding on-and-off negotiations for days on a possible compromise, so far in vain.

“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package frankly than either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering,” Mr Trump said on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. “I’d like to see the money going to people.”

The president okayed a $1.8tn offer on Friday, according to a senior administration official, capping a week of many twists and turns. Mr Trump had initially called for a deal via Twitter from his hospital suite in Maryland last Saturday, before on Tuesday abruptly calling off the negotiations. In the face of a significant backlash, he then reversed course and sought to draw Democrats back into a conversation, first on a series of smaller aid packages, and most recently on a big deal.

Alyssa Farah, the White House communications director, told reporters the administration wanted to keep the cost “below $2tn” — suggesting Mr Trump may go even higher.

The White House could face resistance from lawmakers in the Republican-held Senate, who have consistently resisted large new spending and have only been willing to consider a package below $1tn. This could complicate passage before the November 3 election, also considering the Senate is aiming to confirm Mr Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, in the coming weeks as well.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said in Kentucky on Friday that a stimulus bill was “unlikely” before the election because of the “proximity” of the vote and “pretty vast” differences on what was needed.

Some Republican senators in tough re-election battles were pushing for a deal, however. Joni Ernst of Iowa wrote on Twitter that she spoke to Mr Trump and told him that people in her state were clamouring for relief. “I’m hopeful Congress can come together once again — Rs and Ds — and provide more support to hardworking Americans,” Ms Ernst said.

Democrats have so far resisted Mr Trump’s overtures. They are pushing for more spending on unemployment benefits and child care and, in a particular bone of contention with Republicans, aid for cash-strapped state and local governments.

Ms Pelosi reacted cautiously to the new offer from the White House.

Drew Hammill, one of her senior aides, said the new proposal only “attempted to address some of the concerns Democrats have” about the administration’s stance. “Of special concern is the absence of an agreement on a strategic plan to crush the virus. For this and other provisions, we are still awaiting language from the administration as negotiations on the overall funding amount continue,” Mr Hammill wrote on Twitter.

Economists, including Federal Reserve officials, have warned that in the absence of a deal, the US could be facing a longer and more painful recovery from the pandemic.

There are already signs of slowing job creation and some big employers have announced or implemented mass lay-offs in recent weeks, pointing to an even more troubled labour market in the months ahead if no support is forthcoming.

Swamp notes

In the countdown to the 2020 election, stay on top of the big campaign issues with our newsletter on US power and politics with columnists Rana Foroohar and Edward Luce. Sign up here


Source link

Comments to: White House raises stimulus offer to $1.8tn

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Attach images - Only PNG, JPG, JPEG and GIF are supported.


Welcome to Typer

Brief and amiable onboarding is the first thing a new user sees in the theme.
Join Typer
Registration is closed.