(Natural News) President Donald Trump has halted negotiations with the Democratic Party regarding the passage of a Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) relief bill until after the election. This move, which was announced on Oct. 6, has shocked lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
“Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 trillion dollars to bail out poorly run, high crime, Democrat states, money that is in no way related to COVID-19,” said Trump in a series of tweets on Tuesday. “As usual, she is not negotiating in good faith. I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our country.”
“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election,” he continued. “Immediately after I win, we will pass a major stimulus bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and small business.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi had previously been negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on a coronavirus relief deal, which is expected to cost over a trillion dollars.
The two were able to come to an initial agreement when the Democrat-controlled House passed a bill offering $2.2 trillion worth of aid, down from the $3.5 trillion that the Democrats had initially been asking for. Mnuchin, on the other hand, proposed a $1.6 trillion package as a compromise.
House Democrats and the White House have been arguing over a variety of factors, such as how much aid to provide state and local governments. (Related: Pelosi is stripping out farm aid, child nutrition provisions from government funding bill.)
Trump and other Republicans have criticized the Democrats’ push to provide more state and local aid. They’ve argued that the effort would disproportionately help states controlled by the Democratic Party. Trump has gone so far as to call it a “bailout” for blue states.
Instead of working on a relief bill, Trump told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to focus the Senate’s resources on confirming the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Her first hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee begins on Monday.
Democrats and Republicans shocked by cancellation
Pelosi and other Democrats have responded strongly to Trump’s decision to stop negotiations. They have stated that the move is making it clear to voters that the Republican Party is not going to help them.
Former vice president Joe Biden has already spoken out about Trump’s supposed unwillingness to provide them with aid.
“Make no mistake,” he said in a tweet posted on Tuesday, “if you are out of work, if your business is closed, if your child’s school is shut down, if you are seeing layoffs in your community, Donald Trump decided today that none of that matters to him.”
Pelosi, meanwhile, accused Trump of putting his own needs first before the needs of the country. She said that the president “showed his true colors” by halting negotiations and that he was “unwilling to crush the virus” by providing aid to America’s children and its unemployed.
“The White House is in complete disarray,” she said, claiming that Trump was “walking away” and showing that he cannot defeat the pandemic.
Within the Republican Party, there is some disagreement on the cancellation of the talks. McConnell has already stated that he agrees with the president’s decision.
“I think his view was that [Pelosi and Mnuchin] were not going to produce a result, and that we needed to concentrate on what’s achievable.”
McConnell’s sentiments mirror those of some other GOP lawmakers who have been vocal about their opposition to paying for another coronavirus relief bill.
Other Republicans, however, including senators who are up for reelection in November, have been pushing to pass another aid package.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is facing a very difficult reelection bid, said she and several Republican colleagues in the Senate have already been in touch with Mnuchin to try and get the White House back to negotiate with Pelosi. She has also said that waiting until after the election to pass a relief package is a mistake.
Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana has also been pushing for months for the Senate to send more aid to state and local governments. Cassidy is also up for reelection, unlike Collins, however, polls say that he will be able to easily defeat his opponents.
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