The White House this Sunday made an umpteenth turnaround on a proposal for an economic stimulus to overcome the crisis caused by the pandemic, pressing Congress to approve a reduced package aimed at urgently helping SMEs in difficulty.
The new offer comes after President Donald Trump’s Republican Party and the Democratic opposition rejected, for different reasons, a $ 1.8 trillion proposal made Friday by the federal government to support the US economy.
In a letter to Congress, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are asking lawmakers to pass a law that would allow the Trump administration to redirect some $ 130 billion that was not used. still in the former small business aid program.
The assistance would be aimed at companies facing falling revenue, while discussions on more important aid continue.
– “Immediately” –
“The time has come to come together and vote immediately” the law, say Mnuchin and Meadows. “The all-or-nothing approach is not an acceptable response to the American people.”
Almost three weeks before the presidential election on November 3, in which Trump seeks re-election, it is unlikely that this proposal will be accepted by the Democrats in Congress: his boss, Nancy Pelosi, has already rejected any surgical measure, and supports only a major aid, more likely, in his opinion, to lift the economic activity crushed by the pandemic.
The new strategy of the White House closes a week of comings and goings in Trump’s maneuvers.
Markets tumbled Tuesday following Trump’s abrupt decision to end stimulus package talks until after the election, but he took a sharp turn in the days that followed in favor of a deal.
On Friday, the White House stepped up its offer, proposing a $ 1.8 trillion package, against the previously proposed $ 1.5 trillion package, as Trump himself, who is lagging in national polls, spoke in favor of an even bigger package with the intention of reaching an agreement with the Democrats.
But that proposal was rejected by both the opposition and his own side.
Pelosi, who has been negotiating the recovery plan with Mnuchin, deplored “one step forward, two steps back” and considered that this proposal “is not enough.”
– Disagreement in Congress –
“We still have disagreements on many priorities,” Pelosi wrote to members of her parliamentary group on Saturday, saying, however, that she was “optimistic.”
Democrats want a total of $ 2.2 trillion in aid to homes, businesses and states.
Several Republican senators considered, for their part, that the White House offer was too generous. His boss, Mitch McConnell, chilled the chances of a deal since Friday, saying Congress is unlikely to greenlight a new stimulus package before the election because of differences over how much to spend.
Republicans are opposed to the aid going to local communities, especially states that have been hard hit by the pandemic, many run by Democrats.
The economic stimulus package has become a cornerstone for Republicans: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is nearly 10 points ahead of Trump in the national poll average and has also bolstered his lead in intention. of the vote in states that will decide the election.
Meanwhile, the economic outlook is disastrous, with almost 11 million unemployed, and a total of 25 million with income impaired by the pandemic surviving thanks to public aid.
Many small and medium-sized companies face liquidity problems that threaten their survival, while large firms begin to make mass layoffs, a wave difficult to contain, according to experts, without the help of the federal government.