WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – US President Donald Trump acknowledged on Tuesday (Oct 27) that a coronavirus economic relief deal would likely come after the Nov 3 election, with the White House unable to bridge differences with fellow Republicans in the US Senate as well as congressional Democrats.
“After the election we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen,” Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving on a campaign trip.
Trump and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi have traded blame for the impasse over another large stimulus package worth around US$2 trillion to help Americans weather the pandemic.
“We’ll always talk about it because our people should get it, the stimulus, but Nancy Pelosi is only interested in bailing out badly run, crime-ridden Democrat cities and states,” Trump said.
Pelosi, the top elected Democrat, led the House to pass a US$3 trillion coronavirus relief bill in May, but Republicans who control the US Senate balked at another large bill. They pushed a much smaller measure targeting a few areas for relief.
The White House has said aid to state and local governments has been the main sticking point in the talks, while Democrats also cited the lack of a national coronavirus testing plan.
“In all of our legislation, we have stressed the importance of testing, but the administration has never followed through,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to lawmakers on Monday.
“The Republicans’ continued surrender to the virus – particularly amid the recent wave of cases – is official malfeasance.”
Infections are surging again in the United States and 36 out of 50 states have seen an increase for at least two weeks in a row, according to the Reuters analysis. Deaths from the respiratory disease have also more than doubled in seven states.
On Monday, Pelosi’s spokesman said she was hopeful an agreement could be reached before the elections.
But the White House on Tuesday morning began tamping down expectations for a major package to be agreed upon by next Tuesday’s presidential and congressional elections.
“The chances are slim,” White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox Business Network.