President Trump, in a recent tweet from the Walter Reed Medical Center, has urged lawmakers and members of the administration to strike a deal towards passing a new coronavirus stimulus package, even as he receives treatment for COVID-19.
“Our Great USA Wants and Needs Stimulus. Work Together And Get It Done. Thank you!” his tweet said.
The president’s latest push for a deal comes in the midst of his revelations on Thursday about his COVID-19 status. The President and First Lady, Melania, both came down with the virus on Thursday and are currently undergoing treatment in quarantine. The president’s COVID-19 status sparked off renewed pressure for congress to pass a package that will help an economy that is yet to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic and is currently grappling with its fiscal fallout.
Following Trump’s diagnosis, Congress is seriously considering the possibility of another stimulus bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted that the current happenings with Trump and his inner circle change the dynamic because it gives the Trump administration the chance to see the reality of what her caucus has been emphasizing all along.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell weighed in on the conversation, saying that things have speed up in the last few days, and the possibility of a bill is in the offing.
On Thursday, House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill that was roundly rejected by every Republican member and 18 moderate Democrats. The bill managed to scale through on 214-207 votes. Moderate Democrats hinged their decision on the fact that the bill will never pass through the Republican-controlled Senate and that a bipartisan resolution to the impasse was the route to take.
Republicans and Democrats have been on loggerheads for months on end on the size of the package to inject into the American economy. While the GOP is settling for more prudent spending, the Democrats are pushing for a sweeping relief package that will put more money in the hands of the average American.
Key issues of debates include critical areas such as unemployment insurance. While the Democrats are pushing for $600 per week in additional benefits, the White House will only settle for $400 weekly. Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas was especially vocal against a benefit plan that would make people stay home and be unproductive rather than work.
Another critical point of disagreement is the $400 billion proposed by the Democrats as a relief for states and local government. This figure is way higher than the $250 billion proposed by the White House. Both sides have also disagreed on the child tax credit, earned income tax credit, child assistance funds, and money for COVID-19 testing and tracing.