US President Donald Trump has bragged he “canceled” a bloated version of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus after Senate Democrats inserted over 1,110 pages of partisan line items in the must-pass bill.
“I canceled the deal last night,” Trump boasted during a Fox News town hall on Tuesday, referring to the latest $2 trillion version of the Phase III coronavirus stimulus bill. American workers and small businesses are desperately counting on the bill to provide a financial lifeline, as many face dire income and job losses amid the nationwide coronavirus shutdown.
After Democrats in the Senate blocked a more streamlined form of the bill from moving forward for the second time on Monday, their counterparts in the House introduced a competing text, running to over 1,100 pages, which included a host of controversial Democratic policies – appalling the GOP and, apparently, the president.
“Nancy Pelosi came in and put a lot of things in the deal that had nothing to do with the workers, that had to do with an agenda they’ve been trying to get passed for 10 years,” the president continued during the town hall, insisting he had come to the rescue of his party by putting his foot down and declaring his opposition to the bloated Democratic version. “There’s no way I’m signing that deal!”
Trump hinted that the bill was already being renegotiated, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) told reporters on Tuesday that any remaining compromises would be worked out “within the next few hours.” Both Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had agreed on the $1.8 trillion version before Pelosi cried foul, and the New York senator told media the latest version includes “unemployment insurance on steroids,” over $100 billion in financial assistance to hospitals, and more aid for low-income Americans. Majority Whip John Thune (R-South Dakota) added that small businesses would receive a total of $350 billion and healthcare a total of $240 billion.
The coronavirus pandemic has proved utterly devastating to the American economy, with government-mandated shutdowns forcing the closure of non-essential businesses while others cut back hours and staff. Markets have been in free fall for weeks – the Dow Jones Industrial Average alone lost 33 percent of its value in the past month – but stocks finally slowed their downward spiral on Tuesday on the news that Trump wanted the economy to resume ‘business as usual’ sooner rather than later – as early as Easter.
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