Coronavirus stimulus: 'All the president needs to do is step up,' prominent House Democrat says

Sibile Marcellus
·Reporter
·3 min read

The White House offered a new $1.8 trillion proposal on Friday amid GOP pessimism after President Trump called off stimulus negotiations on Tuesday afternoon and reversed course on Tuesday evening.

It’s now clear that President Trump, with three weeks left until the presidential election, wants to make a deal that will bring much-needed relief to Americans. And Democrats are waiting for the White House and Republicans to get closer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s terms.

“What we’re saying as a House of Representatives, all we want to do is get a package done — we don’t want a piecemeal package,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told Yahoo Finance (video above). “Now the $2.2 [trillion] stimulus package we passed last week, it’s on the table. All the president needs to do is step up and be the adult in the room for once in his life and do the right thing.”

Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 10/8/20 Trump says he will not participate in the 2nd Presidential debate if it is done virtually. STAR MAX File Photo: 4/17/16 Donald Trump campaigns in Staten Island, New York.
Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 10/8/20 Trump says he will not participate in the 2nd Presidential debate if it is done virtually. STAR MAX File Photo: 4/17/16 Donald Trump campaigns in Staten Island, New York.

And although Democrats know a standalone bill for stimulus checks would be a big boost for many Americans facing financial devastation, they’re not budging.

“[Stimulus checks] would help,” Thompson said, “but look: In my district, which is one of the poor districts in America, the people know about struggle. This is nothing new.”

The unemployment rate in Mississippi was 7.9% in August, compared to 8.4% for the U.S. Thompson’s Congressional district had a pre-pandemic median household income of $37,372 in 2019, well below the national average of $68,703 that same year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“I’m convinced that the people in my district who are having a difficult time, they’ll make it,” Thompson said. “But I know one thing, they are absolutely committed on November 3 to go to the polls and vote Donald Trump out.”

At least 38 states have paid out all their funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
At least 38 states have paid out all their funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

Pelosi and the White House remain divided over a handful of issues, including how much money to provide state and local governments.

“This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back,” Pelosi stated in a letter to fellow Democrats on Saturday. “When the President talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sounds pessimistic, telling reporters during a campaign event in Kentucky on Friday that he doesn’t expect a stimulus deal before Election Day.

“I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election, and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage" he said. “I’d like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April, but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.”

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