Trump pushes for major COVID-19 deal over Senate Republican objections

In this news, we discuss the Trump pushes for major COVID-19 deal over Senate Republican objections.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump pushed for a comprehensive COVID-19 relief plan on Tuesday, saying he would agree to a deal worth more than $ 2.2 trillion despite opposition to significant spending measures among his Republican colleagues in the US Senate.

“I want to do it even more than Democrats,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News, as talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin neared Tuesday’s deadline to reach a bipartisan deal that could pass Congress first. Election day on November 3.

The White House has offered $ 1.8 trillion in coronavirus relief, while Pelosi is pushing for $ 2.2 trillion.

Senate Republicans have repeatedly stated their opposition to additional spending on COVID-19 relief nearing the $ 2 trillion mark and instead focused on smaller initiatives.

Republicans prepared to introduce legislation on Tuesday to help small businesses criticized by the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 8.2 million Americans, killed more than 220,000 and thrown millions out of work.

Trump predicted Senate Republicans would fall into the line if Mnuchin and Pelosi strike a bipartisan deal.

“Not all Republicans agree with me, but they will,” he said. Trump added that he is specifically waiting for the support of Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell: “He will be on board if anything happens.”

But senior senatorial Republican John Thune expressed doubt on Monday that there would be enough Republican votes in the Senate to pass a comprehensive bill as broad as the White House proposal, let alone something larger. than Pelosi’s.

“It would be difficult,” Thune, the Republican Senate whip, told reporters.

Trump has said he would be prepared to accept a deal made mostly with Democratic backing: “I’ll take any votes you can get, whether it’s Democrat or Republican … I’m okay with that.”

Pelosi and Mnuchin, who have been negotiating intermittently since August for a new coronavirus aid plan, are scheduled to speak again on Tuesday.

Any new stimulus would come on top of the $ 3 trillion in coronavirus relief that Congress approved earlier this year.

Senate Republicans will offer a new round of funding-only for the Paycheck Protection Program on Tuesday, a popular program that was launched earlier during the pandemic with bipartisan support to provide loans to small businesses.

The measure is not expected to progress, as Senate Democrats have already made it known that they deem these targeted efforts insufficient.

McConnell said the Senate is also planning a vote Wednesday on a Republican proposal of more than $ 500 billion to include unemployment benefits and help to schools. It would provide people with $ 300 in weekly federal unemployment benefits, while Democrats want to return to the weekly level of $ 600 to a measure approved earlier this year.

Democrats blocked a similar Republican proposal last month and Wednesday’s measure is also expected to fail.

Susan Cornwell Report; additional reports by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Edited by Scott Malone, Rosalba O’Brien and Bernadette Baum

Original © Thomson Reuters

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