Coronavirus stimulus: White House backs $1.5 trillion package as GOP leaders silent on any deal
The White House continues to support coronavirus stimulus legislation at a higher price than what the GOP tabled last week, while Republican leaders remain silent on whether the party is willing to spend more on a new bill.
"I agree with a lot," the president said in a press conference Wednesday when asked about a $ 1.5 trillion stimulus proposal launched this week by a non-partisan group of House members. "I think the things that I disagree with can probably be negotiated. But I think we've made some progress in the last week." ".)
On Thursday morning, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox News that President Trump was "certainly ready to take on the $ 1.5 trillion figure that was released on the last day or so". At another point, Meadows added, "Let's at least use this new $ 1.5 trillion recommendation as a basis for new negotiations."
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (L) leaves Air Force One with U.S. President Donald Trump on July 10, 2020 at Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida. (Photo: Johnny Louis / Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not yet commented on the middle ground proposal after refusing to discuss it when asked by reporters on Wednesday. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), chairman of the minority House of Representatives, who was asked by reporters Thursday about the president's push for higher numbers, didn't say he would support it.
However, the White House's push may not be enough to move negotiations forward.
"Despite President Trump's comments yesterday, Senate Republicans are still not on board with an aid package roughly the size of the problem-solver's proposal," said Sarah Binder, professor of political science at George Washington University and senior fellow at Brookings Institute. said Yahoo Money. "President Trump and the White House would have to get their own party on board to have a realistic chance of pressure democratic leaders to further downsize the HEROES bill passed by the House."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Will leave the Senate after a vote on Wednesday September 16, 2020. (Photo by Caroline Brehman / CQ Appeal, Inc via Getty Images)
The $ 1.5 trillion proposal by a group of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, called the Problem Solvers Caucus, includes provisions such as aid to small businesses and schools, a second round of economic reviews, an increase in unemployment benefits and electoral assistance.
"A big stumbling block"
Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Chairman Charles Schumer (D-NY) led the Democratic side of the negotiations, while Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin led the Republican side after McConnell took the GOP side of the negotiations to the Government ceded the White House in August.
Pelosi - who previously said the $ 1.5 trillion proposal is not enough - welcomed the president's remarks on raising the price of the next aid package, but has not since commented on whether she will support the middle ground proposal.
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House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Is seen after a press conference at Capitols Statuary Hall calling for Covid-19 testing and tracing funds included in the Heroes Act on Thursday, September 17, 2020 are. (Photo by Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
The Democratic Plan passed in May - the HEROES Bill - was originally valued at over $ 3 trillion but was later trimmed to $ 2.2 trillion. The Republicans' original proposal was valued at $ 1 trillion, but their later proposal, which was rejected in the Senate, was worth only $ 300 billion.
Some of the problems with the $ 1.5 trillion middle ground proposal could be the $ 500 billion proposed for state and local aid allocation - a provision the two parties previously disagreed on.
"If we look at state and local aid, it was a major stumbling block," Meadows told CNBC on Wednesday. "Hopefully that number is closer to the range of $ 250 billion to $ 300 billion. Even so, at $ 500 billion, I'd say that's more than what we're seeing in terms of lost revenue. "
Meadows added that the higher price of the middle way proposal was not a "show stopper" and also called for $ 25 billion in a separate package to help airlines struggling amid the pandemic and ensuing recession.
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Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.
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