The White House on Friday drafted a $1.8 trillion stimulus package to address the economic impact of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the coronavirus.
The new offer is a notch closer to the $2.2 trillion sought by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who returned to the negotiating table on Thursday after President Donald Trump briefly cut off the talks.
The White House upped its offer ahead of a conversation on Friday between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The two spoke for more than 30 minutes Friday afternoon, said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.
“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday.
The $1.8 trillion package includes a fiscal relief component for states and localities worth $300 billion, up from $250 in the previous iteration, according to a GOP aide familiar with the new offer who spoke to The Associated Press. Trump has repeatedly criticized the Democrats for using the relief package to prop up what he says are failing Democratic cities and states.
The previous aid package was worth $1.6 billion.
“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering,” Trump said on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show Friday.
Pelosi’s most recent public offer was about $2.2 trillion, though that included a business tax increase that Republicans won’t go for.
But GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told an audience in Kentucky that he doesn’t see a deal coming together soon out of a “murky” situation in which the participants in the negotiations are elbowing for political advantage.
“I’d like to see us rise above that like we did in March and April but I think it’s unlikely in the next three weeks,” McConnell said.
He spoke after Trump apparently performed an about-face, empowering Mnuchin to resume negotiations with Pelosi on a larger, comprehensive coronavirus relief package despite calling off the talks just days before.
Prior to the Pelosi-Mnuchin phone call, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters Friday that “developments are positive” and that “the bid and the offer have narrowed.”
McConnell remains a skeptic that a deal can come together—and he has issued private warnings that many Senate Republicans will oppose a deal in the range that Pelosi is seeking.
“We do need another rescue package,” McConnell said. “But the proximity to the election and the differences about what is need at this particular juncture are pretty vast.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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