President Donald Trump has ordered his negotiators to stop talks with congressional leaders on new legislation intended to help the economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump’s abrupt decision comes after the two sides struggled for months to reach a deal.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives last week released a $2.2 trillion Covid-19 stimulus package, while the White House was ready to spend only less for economic rescue.
“Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith. I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our Country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election,” Trump said on Twitter.
He expressed confidence that he will win the election, immediately after which, “a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and small business” will be passed.
Trump said he has asked Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell not to delay, but to focus full time on approving his nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett.
“Our Economy is doing very well. The Stock Market is at record levels, jobs and unemployment also coming back in record numbers. We are leading the world in economic recovery, and the best is yet to come,” he tweeted.
Trump’s surprise decision has apparently killed the prospects of Congress passing another round of Covid-19 relief package ahead of the presidential election.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said his Republican rival “turned his back” on the voters.
“Make no mistake: if you are out of work, if your business is closed, if your child’s school is shut down, if you are seeing layoffs in your community, Donald Trump decided today that none of that – none of it – matters to him,” he said in a statement.
The National Retail Federation expressed concern over President Trump’s decision.
“The pandemic isn’t over and neither is the economic crisis it has created,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “There are many families still struggling to make ends meet and businesses facing obstacles to putting workers back on the payroll. We need a vaccine to ensure our personal health. And we need further stimulus to ensure we can fix an ailing economy, bring people back to work and spur growth in communities large and small.”
NRF has led the retail industry’s call for economic relief, setting out priorities including expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program, tax credits for the cost of personal protective equipment and protection against lawsuits for businesses that follow safety guidelines set by public health agencies.
More than 200 trade associations, under the umbrella The COVID Relief Now coalition, had sent a letter to Congress last week urging immediate and meaningful economic support.
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