Coronavirus stimulus checks: Mnuchin to address sticking point, Trump to raise

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It is now largely believed that there won’t be any stimulus package before the election. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump, however, are still making the push to come up with a better offer for the next coronavirus stimulus package and checks before the election. On Thursday, both Mnuchin and Trump re-assured their support for the next coronavirus stimulus package.

Mnuchin wants to resolve differences

Mnuchin, on Thursday, assured that the White House won’t let the differences over coronavirus test funding derail the negotiations. Lately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been portraying COVID-19 test funding as the main sticking point in the negotiations.

On Wednesday, after the talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin, Pelosi’s spokesman informed that a “national strategic testing plan” is the key difference between the two sides.

“One major area of disagreement continues to be that the White House lacks an understanding of the need for a national strategic testing plan,” Drew Hammill said in a tweet.

Speaking to CNBC’s Squawk Box, Mnuchin said the White House has agreed to $178 billion overall for health and it is an “extraordinary amount of money.” Further, he informed that they also agreed with Democrats’ demand for $75 billion for testing and contact tracing. However, Mnuchin noted that the focus now is on the “language around testing.”

“We’ll fundamentally agree with their testing language subject to some minor issues. This issue is being overblown,” Mnuchin said.

Coronavirus stimulus checks: Trump wants to raise offer

Trump, on Thursday, said that he is willing to raise the offer beyond the $1.8 trillion mark. The House Democrats, however, are asking for a $2.2 trillion bill.

“I would. Absolutely I would. I would say more. I would go higher,” Trump told Fox Business.

Trump also blamed Pelosi for the impasse over the coronavirus negotiations. He said that Pelosi is blocking the deal because she thinks it would help her “with the election.”

“I think it hurts her with the election because everyone knows she’s holding it up. We’re not holding it up. She’s holding it up,” he said.

Trump said he had asked Mnuchin, who is representing the White House in the stimulus negotiations, to make a bigger offer to Pelosi.

Trump may be talking about a bigger stimulus package, but he doesn’t likely have the support of Senate Republicans. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Republican lawmakers support a smaller and targeted relief package.

“My members think what we laid out – a half a trillion dollars, highly targeted – is the best way to go. So that’s what I’m going to put on the floor,” McConnell told reporters. The Senate will vote on a targeted relief package next week.

Meanwhile, the latest report from the Labor Department on jobless claims suggests the recovery in the labor market could be slowing. Also, the average daily new infections are 17% more than last week, and have been growing in the past 10 days.

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