WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House is raising its proposal in COVID-19 aid talks on Friday in hopes of an agreement before Election Day, even as President Donald Trump’s most powerful GOP aide in the Senate Said that Congress is unlikely to provide relief till then.
Trump said on Twitter to make the announcement on Friday: “Kovid is moving forward with relief talks. Be big!” A top economic adviser said the Trump team was extending its proposal ahead of Friday’s talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Menuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The two spoke for more than 30 minutes Friday afternoon, said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hamill.
A GOP aide familiar with the new proposal said it is worth about $ 1.8 trillion, with a major state and local fiscal relief component of at least $ 300 billion from $ 250 billion. The White House says its most recent proposal was about $ 1.6 trillion. The ally requested anonymity because the talks are private.
“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package than what Democrats or Republicans offer,” Trump said on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show on Friday. Earlier this week, Trump slammed Democrats for their demands on an aid bill.
Pelosi’s most recent public proposal was $ 2.2 trillion, although it included a business tax increase that would not go for Republicans.
But GOP Senate Chief Leader Mitch McConnell told an audience in Kentucky that he is not looking at a deal coming together too soon from the “merry” situation, with participants in negotiations hitting elbows for political gain.
“I want to see us rising up, like we did in March and April, but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks,” McConnell said. McConnell later stated that “the first item of Senate priority is the Supreme Court,” suggesting that the COVID Relief Bill and Judge Amy Connie Barrett’s nomination process for both are not time before the election.
He spoke after explicitly talking about Trump, empowering Mnuchin to resume talks with Pelosi, D-California, despite a large, comprehensive coronovirus relief package just days before negotiations were called off give.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters Friday that “developments are positive” and “bids and proposals narrowed” after a telephone conversation between Pelosi and Mnuchin on Friday.
McConnell remains skeptical that a deal could come together – and has issued a personal warning that many Senate Republicans will oppose a deal in the range that Pelosi demands.
“We need another rescue package,” McConnell said. “But the differences about the proximity to the election and what is needed at this particular junction are huge.”
Later on Friday during an appearance in Tomkinsville, Kentucky, McConnell said, “I don’t know if we’ll get another (virus relief) package.”
McConnell’s remarks kicked off a grim week in which Trump sent conflicting signals and made invincible demands. On Tuesday, he ordered the end After a week of talks, it is being told that some congressional Republicans will end voting for a possible Pelosi-Mannuchin deal.
After taking a jibe for that decision, Trump on Thursday sought to revive the talks. Yet when Munnuin was changing with Pelosi, staff at the White House – working under Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a key negotiator – were issuing demands for a small package filled with Trump’s priorities.
All of this happens when Trump is slipping in the election and is sidelined by his COVID-19 transition. The White House is less staffed and deals with transitions among its employees. And the president and Pelosi are attacking each other’s mental health.
Negotiations between close observers in Washington were open, but both sides were hesitant to declare him dead until Trump did so on Tuesday, turning himself into a magnet for blame. Negotiations are still unlikely to produce results in the near term because even if there was a breakthrough, the process could take weeks.
McConnell says he is ready to resume negotiations in the post-election lame Duck session, but the prospect is even stronger based on the results.
On Friday, Pelosi released a downbeat evaluation in a letter to his colleagues, but expressed some optimism in an appearance on MSNBC.
“I hope we make a deal soon,” Pelosi said.
Schreier contributed from Sheperdville, Kentucky.