Democrats and Republicans reject Trump's coronavirus stimulus provide, clouding hopes for a deal
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, leaves the country following her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 8, 2020.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
House Democrats and Senate Republicans spoke out against President Donald Trump's $ 1.8 trillion coronavirus stimulus offer on Saturday, adding to a week of confusing negotiations and dwindling hopes for a deal before election day.
The White House offer nearly doubles the Republicans' original proposal when talks began in late summer, but is about $ 400 billion below the previously-passed Democratic bill of $ 2.2 trillion, which is what party leaders in Congress are up to makes both sides unhappy.
"That proposal was a step forward, two steps back," House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to her members on Saturday about the Trump administration's stimulus offer.
"When the president talks about wanting a bigger aid package, his suggestion seems to mean that he wants to give or withhold more money at his own discretion instead of agreeing on a language that dictates how we honor our workers, the virus destroy and put money in the EU. " Worker's bags, "said Pelosi.
Congress hasn't passed new aid for months as the virus continues to spread across the country and economic recovery slows.
Pelosi said the government proposal lacks a strategic plan to contain the spread of the virus and has insufficient funding for state and local governments as well as financial relief for American families.
Pelosi has called for a contract that reinstates the $ 600-a-week additional unemployment benefit that ended in July and puts tens of billions of dollars in contact tracing, Covid-19 testing and vaccine development.
"Despite these unresolved concerns, I continue to hope that yesterday's developments will bring us closer to reaching an agreement on an aid package that will address the health and economic crisis of American families," said Pelosi.
Senate Republicans spoke out against the pending bill in a Saturday morning call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, sources told NBC News. A source said Republicans are struggling with what they termed an effort by the Democrats to provide maximum health insurance subsidies to every new Obamacare enrollment under an agreement.
As Election Day draws nearer, it's unclear whether Congress will have time to come up with a pandemic relief bill and get it through the Republican-held Senate, which is moving quickly to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Supreme Court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that a stimulus package "is unlikely in the next three weeks".
Trump, who cut off talks a few days ago, now said he had changed his position to approve more coronavirus aid ahead of the November elections, telling right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, "I would honestly see a bigger stimulus package than that either the Democrats or Republicans are bidding. "
White House communications director Alyssa Farah later told reporters that the government wants a package that costs less than $ 2 trillion, which is less than the $ 2.2 trillion proposed by the Democrats.
– CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report