President Donald Trump said he was ready to sign a "big, beautiful" stimulus package during Thursday night's NBC News town hall in Miami. In a follow-up tweet on the subject before the event, Trump claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the only person "holding up" the stimulus deal, even though Senate Republicans are preparing to vote on another stimulus package much smaller than any package the White House and Pelosi are considering. Pelosi is pushing for a $2.2 trillion package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered a $1.8 trillion package and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing a $500 billion package.
During the town hall, Trump claimed Republicans would approve a new stimulus package, but Pelosi was standing in the way. "The fact is, she’s wrong because people know she’s in our way, she’s not approving it, she doesn’t appreciate our people, and she doesn’t appreciate, at all, our workers," Trump told moderator Savannah Guthrie. "Nancy Pelosi, we are ready to sign and pass stimulus, but she’s got to approve it."
However, Guthrie reminded Trump that he was the one who tried to stop all stimulus talks in early October, insisting there would be no deal until after the election. Trump quickly reversed his position, suggesting there could be a "targeted" bill. He then changed his mind again, saying he wanted a "big" deal, which Senate Republicans have balked at ever since the House passed the first $3 trillion HEROES Act in May.
"You know who I’m negotiating against? Nancy Pelosi, because she doesn’t want to give them money," Trump claimed. "We should have stimulus. This was not our people’s fault. This was China’s fault. And she’s penalizing our people. I’m ready to sign a big, beautiful stimulus. You saw the other day, I said, “Go big or go home."
Trump later said he wants the stimulus to be "big" and "bold," with money to go "directly to the people." Guthrie asked if Republicans were prepared to go big, and Trump said they would, even though they appear not to be. "I know because I haven’t asked them to because I can’t get through Nancy Pelosi," Trump said. "If Nancy Pelosi and I, through my representatives or directly, I don’t care, if we agree to something, the Republicans will agree to it."
Mnuchin has offered a $1.8 trillion package, but Pelosi has called it "grossly inadequate" and does not include all the funding for state and local governments to fight the coronavirus Democrats have been pushing for. Meanwhile, McConnell plans to vote on a $500 billion stimulus package and he has dismissed even the $1.8 trillion offer.
Congress has already passed three major stimulus packages, as well as a fourth smaller package in April to add more funds to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Despite the coronavirus continuing to impact the country, with more than 218,000 Americans dead, Congress has not reached any agreement on further stimulus to help the economy. The CARES Act included a one-time stimulus check sent directly to Americans for at least $1,200. Mnuchin and House Democrats' recent proposals have included second checks.