Hours after canceling negotiations with Democrats over stimulus legislation on Tuesday and pledging to pass a bill after the election, President Trump backtracked by calling on Congress to send him standalone bills that would cover individual aspects of the package under negotiation.
Trump called on Congress to “IMMEDIATELY approve” $25 billion in airline payroll support and $135 billion in funding for the paycheck protection program through unused funds in the CARES Act, before adding that he would sign a standalone $1,200 stimulus check bill and tagging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Congressional leaders.
Hours earlier, Trump said he told his representatives to “stop negotiating until after the election” and said that, if he wins, “we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.”
In canceling the talks, Trump expressed outrage at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for demanding considerably more than the $1.6 trillion offered by the White House and called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to focus his energy on confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Trump’s decision drew bipartisan rebukes, with a number of moderate Republicans joining prominent Democrats – including Pelosi and former Vice President Joe Biden – in denouncing the president’s move and calling on him to come back to the negotiating table.
The decision also perplexed political observers given that new stimulus legislation is enormously popular in the polls – including a Hill/HarrisX poll released Monday that found 74% of voters want the Senate to prioritize the stimulus, while just 26% want them to act first on confirming Judge Barrett.
Perhaps receptive to those reactions, Trump just hours later expressed agreement on Twitter with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who called for an aggressive stimulus bill and said the risk of “overdoing it” with spending is low.
Stocks took a sharp dive shortly after Trump announced he was cancelling the talks, which coincided with him touting a strong recovery and a booming stock. The Dow Jones Industrial Index fell 500 points within minutes and ended the day down 1.3%, while the S%P 500 ended off 1.4% and the Nasdaq fell 1.6%. Trump has hinged much of his reelection message on the strength of the stock market.
72%. That’s the share of likely voters who said in a New York Times/Siena College poll released in September that they favor a new $2 trillion stimulus bill – including unemployment insurance, stimulus checks and support to state and local governments – compared to just 23% who aid they oppose such legislation.
“Mitch McConnell told Trump to end bipartisan talks on economic aid for American families and Trump did as he was told,” tweeted Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), accusing Trump of “trying to avoid being blamed for what he did just a few hours ago.”
“It’s like congressional leaders are unaware that Congress can develop legislation and come to a compromise between the two houses without the participation of Donald Trump or Steven Mnuchin,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), the only Libertarian member of Congress. “That act itself can affect public opinion and bring the president on board.”
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