Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had proposed at least $2.4 trillion in stimulus, but Trump said he would not agree to a deal of more than $1.6 trillion. “I am rejecting their … request, and looking to the future of our Country,” he tweeted Tuesday afternoon after a phone call with Mnuchin and Republican congressional leaders.
But later Tuesday night, Trump reversed course and seemingly sought to restart relief talks, tweeting that he would approve a stimulus measure to send Americans $1,200 checks “IMMEDIATELY” amid the pandemic. “I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?” he wrote.
The president confused matters further Wednesday morning, minutes after Meadows’ interview, when he took to Twitter to urge Pelosi: “Move Fast, I Am Waiting To Sign!” Although talks between Pelosi and the White House have stalled, her discussions with Mnuchin intensified last week.
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman, said that Mnuchin asked about a standalone airlines bill with Pelosi Wednesday morning, but the speaker “reminded him that Republicans blocked that bill on Friday & asked him to review the DeFazio bill so that they could have an informed conversation.”
On Friday, House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) tried to push through an airline payroll support bill on the House floor via unanimous consent, but Republicans objected, essentially blocking the effort.
Pelosi and congressional Democrats have previously expressed opposition to a piecemeal stimulus proposal, arguing it does not meet the mammoth needs of an economy still reeling from the effects of Covid-19 restrictions and unemployed workers. Millions have lost their jobs, and the coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Americans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also would face difficulty convincing his GOP caucus to get on board with a big, last-minute agreement, as he remains focused on the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.