The Trump administration urges Congress to pass a scaled-down aid bill with funds left over from an expired program.
The Trump administration has urged Congress to pass a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill that uses residual funds from an expired small business loan program as opposition to negotiations on a more comprehensive package.
Sunday’s proposal was the final turn in the talks, which have consistently sought to give more momentum to the economy, which is struggling to recover from the coronavirus-related stalemate that left millions of Americans jobless.
In a letter to lawmakers, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Head of State Mark Meadows said they would continue to speak with Democratic Senate Chairman Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reach an agreement on one to achieve a comprehensive bill.
However, they said Congress should “vote on the legislation immediately” to allow the use of the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds, which total around $ 130 billion.
“The all-or-nothing approach is an unacceptable response from the American people,” they wrote.
A spokesman for Pelosi, the chief negotiator for Democrats, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern told reporters the funds would be used to reopen the payroll protection program, which expired earlier this year, so “companies can continue to use it to keep their employees busy.”
President Donald Trump offered a $ 1.8 trillion coronavirus aid package in talks with Pelosi on Friday after telling his team on Twitter to “make it big” – and closer to Pelosi’s 2.2 trillion proposal US dollars. Earlier last week, Trump said he broke off negotiations until after the November 3 elections.
Trump’s reversal and higher bid have been criticized by several Senate Republicans, many unsure of the nation’s growing debt and fear that a deal would cost Republicans support in the upcoming election.
Federal Reserve officials have urged Congress to aggressively support the US economy. The chief of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis said Sunday the recovery had “flattened”, indicating the need for further stimulus.
“Lots of people suffer. A lot of small businesses are suffering, ”Neel Kashkari, Minneapolis Fed chief, told CBS. “We need Congress to continue to be aggressive so the recovery can get stronger.”
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNN that he thought the Senate Republicans would come around at some point.
“I think if an agreement can be reached they will go along,” he said, adding that there will be “further negotiation efforts” on a package this week.