Uncertainty over the next relief package continues to grow with each passing day. One day it appears that both Republicans and Democrats will reach a deal, the next day, the two sides go back to square one with each blaming the other for no deal. This week has been no different. After discouraging reports Tuesday that Democrats have rejected the $1.5 trillion package proposed by a bipartisan House group, President Donald Trump and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reignited hopes on Wednesday of another round of coronavirus stimulus checks.
Coronavirus stimulus checks: what did Meadows and Trump say?
It has been an eventful week so far. On Tuesday, a bipartisan House group, called the Problem Solvers Caucus, came up with a $1.5 trillion relief package. It was largely believed that both sides would agree to this bill as it more or less gives each side what they want. However, the Democrats rejected this bill, arguing that it fails to meet all their demands.
On Wednesday, Trump again made an effort to break the stalemate. The President urged the Republicans to embrace a larger coronavirus stimulus package. In a tweet, Trump told GOP lawmakers to “go for the much higher numbers” on the next relief package.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Trump was referring to a package costing more than $1.5 trillion or improving on the GOP’s existing package. Later, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany cleared that Trump was referring to GOP’s $500 billion bill. She said that Trump wants “more than the $500 billion and he’s very keen to see these direct stimulus payments.”
Even if Trump wasn’t talking about a package of more than $1.5 trillion, at least it is also a positive sign for the next package.
After Trump, Meadows also sounded optimistic on the next coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks. Meadows told CNBC that he is “probably more optimistic about the potential for a deal in the last 72 hours than I have been in the last 72 days.”
Though Meadows did not directly speak in favor of the $1.5 trillion bipartisan House bill, he called it a “serious thought for consideration.” Also, he noted that the bill could provide them with a much-needed “foundation” to return to the negotiation table. Meadows said that he would want the deal to happen within “a week to 10 days.”
Why is any deal still unlikely?
Despite such optimistic comments, the deal between the two sides looks far apart. One sticking point between the two sides is the aid to state and local governments. Both sides still are nowhere close on this.
Democrats want more than $900 billion in funding for state and local governments while the White House pushed for $150 billion in new spending. The latest bipartisan House bill offered $500 billion for local and state government funding.
Meadows doesn’t want to give the amount that Democrats are demanding, saying “hopefully that number is closer” to $250 billion to $300 billion.
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