HOUSE Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted President Donald Trump's push for $600 stimulus checks as "unacceptable" – and said he can't be allowed to "obstruct talks."
The Trump administration offered a $916billion stimulus package that would send eligible Americans a $600 stimulus check, but eliminate the $300-a-week unemployment benefits.
Treasure Secretary Steve Mnuchin made the offer to Pelosi late Tuesday afternoon.
"Speaker Pelosi and I spoke today at 5 p.m., and on behalf of the President, I presented a $916 billion proposal," Mnuchin said in a statement.
"This proposal includes money for state and local governments and robust liability protections for businesses, schools and universities."
However, the California Democrat quickly blasted the proposal, calling it "unacceptable."
"While it is progress that Leader [Mitch] McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer based on the bipartisan framework, the President' proposal, which cuts unemployment insurance by $140 billion compared to the framework, is unacceptable," Pelosi tweeted.
"The President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway. The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution."
According to Mnuchin, the offer was a join proposal supported by McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarth, who both called it "a great offer."
In a joint statement, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer marked the proposal as "progress" because it brought McConnell closer to the $908billion bipartisan framework unveiled last week.
However, both Pelosi and Schumer called the cut to unemployment benefits "unacceptable."
"Members of the House and Senate have been engaged in good-faith negotiations and continue to make progress. The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution," they said.
"The President's proposal starts by cutting the unemployment insurance proposal being discussed by bipartisan Members of the House and Senate from $180 billion to $40 billion. That is unacceptable."
Lawmakers have been in a stalemate for months over the appropriate size for any follow-up to the $2.2trillion Cares Act passed in March.
Democrats in the House have backed packages of up to $3trillion, but Republicans in the Senate have proposed much smaller alternatives.
President-elect Joe Biden and members of Congress are still hopeful the $908billion proposal will include a second round of stimulus checks once the bill is written.
On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders slammed Pelosi and other Democrats for rejecting Trump's $1.8trillion proposal in October and now getting behind a much smaller relief bill.
At the time, Pelosi was demanding a $2.2trillion bill.
Sanders said: "That's right… That's what I'm saying."
"What we need is a compromise. I know I can't get everything that I want. But this bill really is not a compromise," he said of the $908billion relief package proposed by a group of bipartisan senators.
"It gives the Republicans almost everything that they wanted."
Sanders noted that some of the funds allocated in the $908billion bill comes from unused money from the Cares Act.
"Democrats talked about over $3trillion in new money to help working families in this country, so I don't think this is much of a compromise," he said.
"I think we have got to do a lot better and negotiate a lot harder."
He added that he has "real concerns about" the $908billion relief bill because it does not include a $1,200 payment to all Americans, which he said he would "fight" for.
"We are, right now, in the worst economic shape since the Great Depression, and this proposal does not include that $1,200 direct payment per individual and $500 for kids that we desperately need in order to put working families back on their feet.
"It would be a real help. We don't have it and I'm going to fight to see we get that included," Sanders added
All of the most significant stimulus programs featured in the Cares Act are set to expire on December 31, 2020.
Source: Read Full Article