The White House is preparing to offer a new $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief deal two days after President Trump abruptly called off negotiations on another round of aid for American workers and businesses still reeling from the pandemic, according to a senior administration official.
Continue Reading Below
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to discuss the proposal — the largest yet from the Trump administration — with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when the two speak Friday, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
It marks an increase from the $1.6 trillion the administration had previously proposed.
“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump tweeted on Friday.
It's unclear what specific provisions will be included in the drafted legislation, but the earlier plan included a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus checks; expanded unemployment benefits at $400 per week and additional funding for state and local government.
For months, Congress has struggled to reach an agreement on additional stimulus. Negotiations first collapsed in early August, prompting Trump to sign four executive measures intended to provide relief to families still reeling from the virus-induced crisis, including temporarily extending supplemental jobless aid at $300 a week.
But that aid is beginning to expire, and lifelines that propped up the economy in the early weeks of the pandemic — like the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program, a one-time $1,200 stimulus check and sweetened unemployment benefits — lapsed weeks ago.
Although Democrats and Republicans broadly agree that another bill is necessary to aid the economy's recovery, they sharply disagree over the size and scope of it. House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion aid package last week, and the Trump administration countered with a $1.6 trillion plan. Pelosi rejected that as "inadequate."
Talks appeared to hit a dead end on Tuesday when President Trump tweeted that he had instructed Republicans to halt negotiations until after the election, jolting Wall Street and sending stocks tumbling. But he swiftly reversed course, initially calling for piecemeal legislation, then renewing a push for a broader deal.
"The president wants to do a deal," Kudlow said during an interview with FOX Business' Stuart Varney.
Any bill still needs to get through the Democratic-controlled House and the GOP-controlled Senate, where some Republicans have expressed concern about another massive spending initiative amid the nation's ballooning deficit, which is projected to hit a record-shattering $3.3 trillion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Fox Business' Blake Burman contributed to this report