Budget

Trump pulls the plug on COVID stimulus

doctor in PPE data analytics

President Donald Trump, on his first full day back in the White House after receiving treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed Hospital, tweeted out Oct. 6 that he was shutting down talks about a stimulus package to aid unemployed workers, struggling small businesses and cities and towns that are laying off public-sector workers.

"Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith," Trump said in a tweet that sent stock markets plummeting to session lows. "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."

Trump's order halted ongoing efforts by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to hash out a stimulus package. Negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were ongoing, and the two had been scheduled to speak today.

State and local government payrolls shed 182,000 jobs in September, according to the most recent jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In September 2019, BLS reported 1.8% unemployment among public sector workers. In September 2020, that figure jumped to 4.1%.

The breakdown of talks comes as Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, called for an infusion of federal support into the economy and said that doing too much would be preferable to doing too little.

"Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses," Powell said in remarks to the National Association for Business Economists on Oct. 6. "By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller.  Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste."

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, blasted the move.

"Since May, Senate Republicans have held hostage any attempt at delivering coronavirus relief. Instead they have yoked themselves to the Trump administration's utter mismanagement of this crisis, a failure which has left 210,000 Americans dead and turned 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue into a hot zone," Lowey said.

Trump "shows his contempt for science, his disdain for our heroes – in health care, first responders, sanitation, transportation, food workers, teachers, teachers, teachers and others – and he refuses to put money in workers’ pockets, unless his name is printed on the check," Pelosi said in a statement.

Just three days ago Trump appeared to back a deal. "OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you," he tweeted.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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