Vice President Mike Pence made his pitch to Congress to pass a new stimulus package after President Donald Trump signed executive orders on Saturday to extend some coronavirus relief while Democrats and Republicans in Washington negotiate. Pence still said Democrats are asking for a package that is too big and would help "bail out" states with deficits and debts. Congress and the White House were unable to reach a deal Friday, although Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he believes Democrats are "willing to compromise" on another package.
Pence told Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs the White House wants to "get more support for businesses" by supporting the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). "We're literally calling on every governor, especially Democrat governors across the country, to call on members of their party in Congress to say let's get to the table, let's get a deal done that puts Americans first," Pence said. He echoed Trump's criticism of the Democrats' push for almost $1 trillion to help states and local governments during the coronavirus pandemic as a "bail out" unrelated to the pandemic.
"President Trump has made it clear we're not going to let liberal Democrats and the radical left use the coronavirus pandemic to bail out states that have been running deficits and debt for decades," Pence told Dobbs Monday. "We're going to stand up for taxpayers, stand up for fiscal responsibility, even while we get resources to states at the point of the need."
On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer offered a $2 trillion package, which was still almost double the cost of the HEALS Act Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed late last month. Pelosi said the White House rejected that offer and talks ended with no deal. This lead to Trump signing executive orders on federal insurance benefits, a payroll tax deferral and student loan payment deferral, and minimizing evictions.
On Monday, Mnuchin told CNBC the administration is willing to resume talks with Democrats on the next relief package. He said Democratic leaders were "willing to compromise" and Trump was "determined to spend what we need to spend." Mnuchin said the administration was "prepared to put more money on the table."
The National Governors Association, led by chair New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and vice-chair Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison, called on Congress to pass a comprehensive coronavirus relief package instead of relying on Trump's executive orders. "The best way forward is for the Congress and the Administration to get back to the negotiating table and come up with a workable solution, which should provide meaningful additional relief for American families," Cuomo and Hutchison said. "NGA has requested $500 billion in unrestricted state aid and NGA continues to urge Congress and the White House to reach a quick resolution to provide immediate assistance to unemployed Americans."