President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Republicans will approve a pandemic rescue package for the US economy after the November 3 election, seeming to concede defeat on efforts to reach a deal this week.
He also improbably predicted Republicans would regain control of the lower house of Congress, and blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the impasse in talks over steps to help counteract the devastating impact that the health crisis has had on households and businesses.
“She’s not interested in helping the people,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“But after the election we will get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen because I think we’re going to take back the House,” said Trump, who is trailing well behind former vice president Joe Biden in the polls.
After months of negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and despite signs of recent progress, there appears to be no time left to get the deal approved before Trump and Biden go before voters next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the upper house of Congress after rushing through confirmation of a conservative Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett, late Monday. And though he could still call a vote, he has opposed another massive stimulus package.
The two sides are looking at a package of measures that would total around $2 trillion, but remain divided over provisions to combat the coronavirus and help struggling state and local governments.
But Trump again indicated he opposes providing aid to Democratic-led cities and states.
With Covid-19 cases on the rise nationwide, the need for stimulus has taken on a new urgency, especially as many support programs have expired or are about to, including a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions as well as loans for small businesses. This threatens to spark a wave of bankruptcies and homelessness.
Whether a measure can be approved in the “lame duck” session before the new Congress is seated in January is unclear. (AFP)