Mnuchin Floats New $916 Billion White House Stimulus Plan
The Trump administration Tuesday announced that it had offered a $916 billion stimulus proposal to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), further complicating lawmakers’ last-ditch efforts to craft and pass a new coronavirus aid bill before the end of the year.
The proposal is separate from both a $908 billion framework put forward by a bipartisan group of centrist Senators and a much-smaller package put forward by McConnell last week.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that the plan would be financed with $140 billion in unused funds from the Paycheck Protection Program and $429 billion from the Treasury Department (likely the unused emergency funds Mnuchin asked the Federal Reserve to return last month).
Mnuchin added that he and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had reviewed the new proposal with President Trump, McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Mnuchin’s proposal includes both state and local aid and liability protections for businesses and schools—two contentious provisions holding up bipartisan negotiations that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has suggested be removed altogether in order to expedite a deal.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday evening that Mnuchin’s proposal would also include $600 direct payments to Americans but no additional federal supplemental unemployment benefits (though emergency unemployment programs set to expire at the end of the year would be extended).
The $908 billion bipartisan plan (which is still being negotiated and could change) would provide $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefits for four months, $160 billion in state and local aid and a liability shield; it excludes a second round of direct payments.
“The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement. “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.”
Stimulus checks emerged as a hot button issue during negotiations this week, with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle calling for their inclusion in the $908 billion bipartisan framework. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told ABC’s This Week Sunday that another round of direct payments would cost about $300 billion and had been excluded from that package to make the price tag more palatable to Senate Republicans. Lawmakers working on the bipartisan effort have also faced major disagreements over more aid for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses, two issues that have hampered relief negotiations for months.
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Here’s What’s Holding Up The Stimulus Deal (Forbes)
House To Vote On One-Week Stopgap Spending Bill To Buy Time For Stimulus Deal (Forbes)