The White House has urged lawmakers to support a plan to aid small businesses weeks ahead of the presidential election
The call came on Sunday after US President Donald Trump’s Republican party and his Democratic opponent, for various reasons, rejected a $ 1.8 trillion economic rescue plan proposed Friday.
In a Sunday message to Congress, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin called on lawmakers to support a bill that would allow about 130 billion euros of money not used in the previous plan to be redirected.
The money is supposed to be allocated to businesses, especially small and medium-sized companies, which face declining revenues as negotiations for further support stalled. “The time has come to unite and vote immediately on a bill that allows us to spend unused wage protection money while we continue to work on a comprehensive package,” the letter said.
It is unlikely that Democrats will agree to the request about three weeks before the November 3 elections, at a time when Trump lags his Democratic rival, Joe Biden in opinion polls.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who is negotiating with the administration, has confirmed that she rejects the idea of specific measures, indicating that she is calling for a broad economic support package that she believes will boost economic activity.
The new White House strategy comes after a week during which Trump and his team changed their strategies, suspended negotiations, then returned to them and announced specific measures, but to no avail. The White House boosted its offer on Friday, proposing a $ 1.8 trillion package while Trump himself said he would prefer a larger package.
But the two parties rejected the proposal. Pelosi considered that the new proposal represents “a step forward and two steps back,” stressing that the proposed amount is not sufficient.
In turn, many Republican senators have deemed Trump’s offer overly generous. The leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, indicated that it is unlikely that Congress will agree on a new package to stimulate the economy before the elections due to disagreements over the amount to be spent.
But Trump’s economic advisor, Ray Cadlow, responded to a question by “CNN” about whether the proposed agreement failed by saying “I don’t think so.”
He explained that the administration wants to adopt measures directed to help economic sectors severely affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, such as air transport and medium and small companies.
The new Coronavirus has hit the US economy severely, leaving 11 million unemployed, while 25 million people’s incomes have declined and they depend on public aid.
Many small businesses face cash flow problems, threatening their viability at a time when larger companies have begun widespread layoffs, in a wave of experts warning that controlling them will be difficult unless they get support from the federal government.