A top aide said on Friday that US President Donald Trump is willing to ink a $1.3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, however, the Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi averred that the sum was not sufficient to meet the American people's needs.
The President later alleged that Pelosi was keen on only bailing out those states that were run by Democrats. The development presents another major setback in reviving impeded talks for another round of economic stimulus.
Pelosi Reiterates Call for $2.2 Trillion Bill
The new figure was put forward by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, marking a $300 billion increase from an initial $1 trillion offer from the White House and Senate Republicans. Three weeks after talks on Capitol Hill broke down without a deal on legislation to help Americans suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, Meadows said the Republican president was "right now willing to sign something at $1.3 trillion."
Hours later, Pelosi in a statement repeated her call for a $2.2 trillion bill and said Meadows' offer would not meet the needs of American workers and families. Pelosi said, among other things, the Republicans "are rejecting the funding needed for testing and tracing to crush the virus and safely reopen schools and the economy." She said she hoped the Republicans would accept the Democratic offer and resume negotiations.
Trump Accuses Pelosi of Democratic Favoritism
Asked about talks between Pelosi and Meadows about another stimulus package, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on a flight to Washington from New Hampshire: "My impression is she wants to give no stimulus, all she wants is bailout for badly run Democrat states." He said another stimulus package would be good. The Democratic-led House in May passed a $3.4 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which was not taken up by the Republican-dominated Senate.
Pelosi said on Thursday after a 25-minute phone call with Meadows that Democrats were willing to go down to $2.2 trillion and demanded that the Trump administration accept that figure before negotiations could resume. The $1.3 trillion has been offered in private, Meadows said. Negotiations have involved Pelosi, Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.
(With inputs from agencies)