President Trump took to Twitter on Friday night to urge Congress to pass the next coronavirus stimulus package and aid failing restaurants as the second wave of the pandemic is forcing some parts of the country to re-enter stricter social distancing guidelines.
“The restaurant business is being absolutely decimated. Congress should step up and help,” Trump tweeted Friday night. “Time is of the essence!”
Congress has been deadlocked on passing the next coronavirus relief package for months, a situation that has gradually worsened as the pandemic surges across the country, and the U.S. enters the holiday season.
Republicans and Democrats have refused to budge on their demands for what should be included in the next stimulus package – something both Trump and President-elect Joe Biden have urged them to immediately address in order to get a relief package passed.
The argument has remained the same for essentially months with Democrats pushing a $2.2 trillion economic relief bill, while Republicans do not want to surpass a roughly $500 billion package.
In a meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Biden urged Congress to get a bill passed before his administration takes over come Jan. 20, 2021.
The three of them reportedly “agreed that Congress needed to pass a bipartisan emergency aid package in the lame-duck session.”
The group also agreed that a relief package needed to be sought before Congress adjourns for the year, and should include “resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep frontline workers on the payroll, expanded unemployment insurance, and affordable health care for millions of families.”
The House passed a $2 trillion package in October, but it was then blocked by Senate Republicans for its high price tag. In turn Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced two $500 billion packages to the House, which were blocked for their lack of aid relief included.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met for weeks in the lead up to the election in what some hoped would end in a balanced relief package, but nothing came to fruition, even after Mnuchin offered a nearly $2 trillion deal.
Pelosi said an agreement could not be made because of disagreements over how funding would be broken up between the state and local districts.
Though Trump has repeatedly said a relief bill needs to be passed as quickly as possible, he has also stood firmly against providing what he sees as bailout funding to Democrat-run states.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.