White House Increases Stimulus Proposal to $1.9 Trillion
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Monday that he doubts Senate Republicans would agree to a new economic stimulus package with a trillion-dollar-plus price tag, despite President Donald Trump’s pleas for them to do so.
Trump has encouraged Congress to “go big” on financial relief for struggling American workers and businesses. Two weeks ago, he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed a $1.8 trillion package. On Monday, that offer was increased to $1.9 trillion – their largest counteroffer to the $2.2 trillion legislation that has already been passed by the Democratic-led House.
“We’ve increased our offer up to almost $1.9 trillion,” Meadows told reporters on Monday. “[The president] is willing to give some additional money in terms of direct payments, he’s willing to give some additional money in terms of PPP to restaurants and hotels and small businesses.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), meanwhile, has refused to consider any deal beyond the $500 billion he has promoted.
“Senate Republicans have been very vocal” in their opposition to a deal “even close to” Trump’s offer, Meadows said.
“The President, Secretary Mnuchin, and myself have not only made modifications but made substantial modifications that come at the risk of jeopardizing Republican support,” Meadows said. “The [Treasury] Secretary and I have had a number of very fruitful discussions over the last several days that give us a hope that we might be able to reach some kind of an agreement in the next 48 hours.”
Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are scheduled to speak again Monday afternoon. Meadows said that he remains cautiously optimistic that a deal is still possible, although it is still “too early to tell” if Senate Rebublicans will budge.
“I can tell you this, that there are some in the Senate who would support it. Whether there’s enough votes to get to the 60 vote threshold, that’s up to Leader McConnell,” said Meadows. But he criticized Pelosi as for remaining “very rigid in her negotiation” strategy, complaining that the Speaker wants “her way or the highway, it’s all or nothing.”
On Sunday, Pelosi gave the White House 48 hours to meet her terms if they hope to get anything passed before November 3.
“While there was some encouraging news, much work remains,” Pelosi said in a statement on Sunday. “I am optimistic that we can reach agreement before the election.”
Fifteen days until the election.