President Donald Trump said Thursday he’s willing to go higher than the $1.8 trillion stimulus package offered by his administration, even though Republicans on Capitol Hill have already thrown cold water on the idea.
Trump told Fox Business’ Stuart Varney Thursday morning that he said he does think there’s a chance a stimulus deal could pass before the election, despite the dwindling time and stalled talks.
Citing mounting pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to secure a deal to help mitigate economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Trump said: “At some point, she might very well say, ‘Hey, look I got to do this.'”
He acknowledged that so far, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has not been successful in convincing her to agree to the GOP-preferred piecemeal approach.
Pelosi has rejected the $1.8 trillion effort as insufficient on several major fronts and the talks are once again stuck without a clear path forward.
The President also claimed he had instructed Mnuchin to put the more than $1.8 trillion offer on the table, but that “so far, he hasn’t come home with the bacon.”
Asked why he wouldn’t just agree to House Democrats’ $2.2 trillion offer, Trump blamed Pelosi for including “all sorts of goodies.”
“She’s asking for all sorts of goodies. She wants to bail out badly run Democrat states and cities. She wants money for things that you would never, you just couldn’t — just — your pride couldn’t let it happen,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly rejected the “big” stimulus approach Trump says he’s interested in securing.
“I’m proposing what we think is appropriate,” McConnell said of Senate Republicans on Thursday. McConnell plans to put a roughly $500 billion proposal on the floor next week — approximately one-fourth of what Pelosi and Mnuchin are currently discussing.
Senate Republicans are also nearly unanimous in their opposition to a big deal at this point, with the election looming.
The Trump administration has made several attempts to negotiate with House Democrats but Pelosi has so far rejected their offers claiming differences over state and local funding and other tax and spending pots.
Senate Republicans, in a private conference call over the weekend, also ripped the Trump administration’s proposal as far too expensive and filled with policies they found objectionable, sources on the call told CNN at the time.
The blow back led Trump’s top two negotiators, Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, to ask lawmakers to pass a standalone small business aid bill.
Despite the current lack of buy-in among Republicans on the Hill, Trump claimed on Fox Business that would be on board with additional spending.
“Yeah I will (go higher than $1.8 trillion) and the Republicans will, too. Because we like stimulus, we want stimulus, and we think we should have stimulus, because it was China’s fault,” he said.