Trump calls for halt of stimulus, focus on Amy Coney Barrett nomination

President Trump on Tuesday rejected a COVID-19 stimulus proposal from Democrats and accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “not negotiating in good faith” as he called on congressional Republicans to drop the matter until after the election and instead focus on his nomination to the Supreme Court.

“Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith,” Trump tweeted.

“I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our Country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.”

Trump wrote that he “asked [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell not to delay, but to instead focus full time on approving my outstanding nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Our Economy is doing very well.”

Trump wrote that the “Stock Market is at record levels, JOBS and unemployment also coming back in record numbers. We are leading the World in Economic Recovery, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!”

A Pelosi spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump, discharged from the hospital on Monday after receiving treatment for the virus, spoke with McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) shortly before issuing the series of tweets.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a top White House negotiator with Democrats, also was on the call, which was first reported by Politico.

Barrett’s confirmation hearings are expected to begin next week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The White House and Democrats for months failed to agree on terms for new pandemic relief legislation that would send stimulus checks and renew an expired unemployment insurance supplement.

Although many items are widely supported, such as funds for virus testing and schools, some Republicans are uneasy about adding to the national debt after spending several trillion dollars on economic relief this year. Democrats last month blocked a “skinny” GOP stimulus bill costing about $500 billion.

But there were signs of softening positions ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

In a tweet last month, Trump wrote, “Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway.”

And Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week relented on her push for a single massive bill, saying she was willing to pass standalone legislation to prevent mass-layoffs at airlines.

A major sticking point in talks remained the amount of money to give state and local governments, and the specific amount for a federal unemployment insurance subsidy. Republicans accuse Democrats of wanting to bail out states that were in poor financial shape before the virus struck in March.

Democrats, meanwhile, oppose a push by Senate Republicans to include liability protection for businesses in a large bill and want to restore a $600 weekly unemployment supplement, which expired in July and in some cases resulted in people earning more than their pre-pandemic pay.

Trump in August signed an executive order allowing a $400 weekly boost in unemployment insurance payments if states chip in $100, but those funds are almost exhausted. Other Trump executive orders restored a federal ban on evictions, proposed a temporary payroll tax cut and extended deferral of college loan payments.

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