Trump has approved revised COVID-19 relief package: White House official

  • World
  • Saturday, 10 Oct 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a revised COVID-19 relief package in the negotiations with congressional Democrats, White House's National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday.

"The president has just recently met with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin," Kudlow said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

"The president has approved a revised package. He has approved a revised package. He would like to do a deal," Kudlow said, declining to provide details about the package.

"It will be relatively broad-based. But I can't go through details ... That's going to be hashed out in the discussions," said the White House official.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to discuss a new 1.8-trillion-U.S.-dollar relief proposal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when the two speak Friday afternoon, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The White House proposal marks a further winnowing of the distance between the administration and Democratic leaders over the relief package's overall price tag, the Journal reported.

The Democrats-controlled House last week passed a 2.2-trillion-dollar relief bill, but it's unlikely to win support from Senate Republicans. The Trump administration had previously offered Pelosi an approximately 1.6 trillion dollar package.

The White House's new offer came after Pelosi on Thursday rejected moving forward a standalone bill aimed at providing new aid to U.S. airlines in the absence of a bigger COVID-19 relief package.

"I have been very open to having a single, standalone bill for the airlines for part of a bigger bill. But there is no standalone bill without a bigger bill," Pelosi said Thursday at a weekly press conference.

Earlier this week Trump had halted relief talks with Democrats, then he reversed course and tweeted that he wanted to pass legislation on aid to airlines and small businesses.

In a phone interview with Fox Business Network on Thursday, Trump said the relief talks were going well and the two sides were "talking about a bigger deal than airlines."

"I shut down talks two days ago because they weren't working out. Now they are starting to work out. We're starting to have some very productive talks," Trump said.

It is not clear whether congressional lawmakers and the Trump administration could bridge their differences and reach an agreement on the relief package before the presidential election on Nov. 3.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday urged policymakers to provide more fiscal relief to households and businesses hurt by the pandemic, warning a prolonged slowing economic recovery could trigger typical recessionary dynamics.

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