Trump’s Tweet Dashes Hopes for Stimulus Deal
President Ends Negotiations with Democratic Leaders
U.S. President Donald Trump killed any lingering hopes of another pandemic stimulus package Tuesday, announcing on Twitter that the White House will stop negotiating with Democrats until after the election.
Calling the $2.2 billion Democratic plan passed by the House last week “a bailout” for “poorly run, high crime, Democrat States,” Trump tweeted: “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 when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.”
Lawmakers have been debating a second relief package on and off for months, but haven’t been able to bridge the divide some nine weeks since extra unemployment benefits provided under the first package—the $1.7 trillion CARES Act—expired. Among the sticking points was the amount of additional federal aid unemployed workers would get each week. The $2.2 trillion Democratic plan passed in the House provided an additional $600 per week (just as the CARES Act had provided), but Trump’s treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, had counter-proposed a $1.6 trillion plan that would reportedly have provided a $400 supplement.
The CARES Act has cushioned the blow of the pandemic for millions of struggling Americans, but the economic recovery has shown signs of slowing in the absence of a fresh round of government relief. The economy added less than half as many jobs in September as in August, and 12.6 million people remain unemployed. In August, personal income fell to the lowest level since March because the $600-a-week CARES Act supplement had ended.
Trump’s tweet triggered an abrupt about-face in the stock market. The S&P 500 index, a popular benchmark for the overall market, closed 1.4% down on the day after being up more than half a percentage point leading up to Trump’s afternoon announcement. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 1.34%, and the Nasdaq Composite, 1.57% down.
The post marked a sharp reversal from three days ago, when Trump tweeted: “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE.”