By Lisa Lambert and Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON, Oct 15 (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump said Thursday that he is willing to raise his offer of $ 1.8 trillion in a COVID-19 relief package to reach a deal with the Democrats, statements that are likely to worry their Republican co-religionists in the Senate.
The White House last week proposed the $ 1.8 trillion plan in negotiations with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who rejected the offer and continues to demand a 2.2 trillion settlement. It seems unlikely that the talks will lead to a deal before the November 3 election.
Trump, who is seeking reelection in next month’s election, said on Fox Business Network that he has already instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to put a larger stimulus offer on the table, assuring that the additional money will go to help American workers. Pelosi and Mnuchin are expected to speak again on Thursday.
“We like stimulus, we want stimulus, and we think we should have stimulus,” Trump said.
The president ruled out accepting Pelosi’s proposal, “because he is asking for all kinds of goodies. He wants to save states and cities badly managed by the Democrats. He wants money for things (…) that your pride cannot allow.”
Many economists and officials at the Federal Reserve have lobbied for another stimulus plan to lessen the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has left millions of Americans out of work. The shares have been falling for two days due to signs of stagnation in trading.
However, a larger deal is likely to meet resistance from Trump’s Republican co-religionists in the Senate, where they have a majority, as many already believe that the current White House offer is too high.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled a vote next week on a smaller $ 500 billion package, with money for small businesses, aid to colleges, protection of business liabilities, benefits of unemployment and hospital assistance.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Doina Chiacu, Andrea Shalala, Alexandra Alper and Tim Ahmann; written by David Morgan; edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)