- President Donald Trump urged Republicans on Wednesday to send stimulus checks larger than $1,200 to shore up the coronavirus-ravaged economy.
- “Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!),” he said.
- A second round of direct payments is among the few areas of agreement between Republicans, Democrats, and Trump.
- But that measure was omitted in the latest slimmed-down coronavirus relief proposal from the GOP, which Democrats blocked.
- Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on another stimulus package have been stalled for over a month.
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President Donald Trump urged Republicans on Wednesday to back larger stimulus checks to prop up an economy still ravaged by the pandemic.
“Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!),” he said in a tweet.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2020
He also charged Democrats with being “heartless” and not wanting to provide people with another direct payment, despite the fact that measure was left out of the latest coronavirus relief proposal from the GOP.
A senior administration official told Business Insider that the president was referring to direct payments. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump was “keen” to include stimulus checks in the next relief package, adding the president believed the overall plan should be bigger than what Republicans sought.
In March, Congress authorized $1,200 stimulus checks, plus an additional $500 per child under the age of 17. through the CARES Act. Republicans, Democrats and Trump all back additional direct payments in the next coronavirus relief package, among the few areas of agreement.
It is unlikely that Republicans would support bigger payments, as scores of GOP senators oppose new spending that swells the federal deficit.
The GOP initially included a provision for additional checks in their spending package in late July. But that was not the case in their skinny proposal. It contained around $300 billion in new spending for $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits — half of what Democrats wanted — as well as small business aid and new education funding.
Democrats blocked it, arguing the plan was “emaciated” and omitted many measures they sought such as federal assistance to states and rental assistance.
Trump’s remarks come as Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked on passing another economic aid package. Nearly 30 million Americans are still on unemployment benefits and many economists are warning of a “K-shaped” recovery where wealthy people at the top surge ahead and average people are left behind.
Pressure is mounting on lawmakers to act before they head back to their districts early next month for the October recess. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement saying they were “encouraged” by Trump’s tweet as both sides stood at an impasse.
“We look forward to hearing from the President’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway with a bill that is equal to the massive health and economic crises gripping our nation,” they said.
A group of 50 House lawmakers introduced a $1.5 trillion bipartisan relief plan on Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to kickstart negotiations that stalled between Democrats and the White House last month. However, a group of Democratic committee chairs criticized it as inadequate.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently told Politico that Democrats should continue holding out for a wide-ranging stimulus deal from Republicans — one that includes direct payments, state aid, and significant public health funding.