Americans are hoping for another round of direct payments in coronavirus aid.
After months of multiple talks that have come to an impasse, lawmakers are toggling back and forth on the terms of what another major COVID-19 relief bill would include.
On Friday, President Donald Trump proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus proposal, reports Washington Post.
The offer was higher than the White House’s previous offer of $1.6 trillion, but still lower than House Democrats’ latest offer of $2.2 trillion.
However, following criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers over the weekend, the White House pivoted its approach.
On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked lawmakers to pass a narrower aid package that allows the current administration to issue $130 billion in unused funding for the Paycheck Protection Program intended for small businesses.
“Now is the time for us to come together and immediately vote on a bill to allow us to spend the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package,” Meadows and Mnuchin wrote in the letter.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled that the proposal won’t work for her chamber. While both Democrats and Republicans have expressed support for extended PPP aid, a priority for Democrats in a new bill is providing sufficient funds for expanded testing and contact tracing efforts against COVID-19.
“The heart of the matter is: Can we allow the virus to rage on and ignore science, as the administration proposes, or will they accept the scientific strategic plan in the Heroes Act to crush the virus?” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues in the House, per Washington Post.
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNN that, despite the on-again, off-again talks, another relief measure would be approved if it reached agreement between Pelosi and Mnuchin.
“If an agreement can be reached here, they will go along with it,” Kudlow told the outlet.