Trump says he directed $3,400 stimulus checks for Americans but blames Democrats for holding it up
President Donald Trump said on Friday that he is readying $3,400 checks to go out to American families, but blamed Democrats for holding up a deal in talks that broke down a week ago.
‘I’ve directed the secretary of the Treasury to get ready and send direct payments, $3,400 for a family of four to all Americans – Democrats are holding this up,’ Trump said, echoing an earlier tweet.
He said he wouldn’t ‘sit down with the Democrats personally’ because they continued to want federal dollars to go to state and city budgets that have been cash-strapped due to the pandemic.
‘Cuz they want $1 trillion to go their friends who are doing bad jobs running cities and states and they’re doing very badly,’ he said at the White House press briefing.
President Donald Trump said at Friday’s briefing that he had ‘directed’ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to ready $3,400 checks for American families, but needs a deal to come through with Democrats before they can go out
President Trump is blaming Democrats – including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) and House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (right) – for the hold-up, though also refuses to meet with them in person
President Trump made a similar announcement earlier Friday in a tweet, again blasting Democrats for holding the checks up
In a series of tweets, he also offered up some money to cities and states, but to specifically go toward first responders
The president also said he was ready for the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration to send more Paycheck Protection Program money to American small businesses
‘You know, most of our country is running very well,’ the president continued.
‘But when you look at Chicago, when you look at what’s going on in Illinois and New York and other places both economically and in other ways it’s horrible – you look at Oregon,’ he added.
Earlier in his remarks, Trump said he would send money to state and local governments to ‘save jobs of our great police, our fightfighters, our first responders, our teachers.’
‘It’s all ready to go, Democrats are holding it up,’ Trump said again.
Instead of sitting down with Democratic leaders in Congress, the president has sent Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to Capitol Hill for negotiations. Meadows was a former Republican House member from North Carolina.
The Republican-led Senate and Democratic-controlled House of Representatives went into an informal recess after last week’s negotiations ended with the parties $2 trillion apart.
However, the leaders of both parties said they could recall their members with 24 hours notice if a deal emerged.
At a Friday news conference, Trump said he was prepared to provide Americans with direct payments as well as rental assistance and money for small businesses, state and local governments.
‘I’m waiting for the Democrats to approve it,’ the president said. ‘Democrats are holding that up, right?’
Aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer were not immediately available for comment.
Trump’s move came a day after he said he was blocking talks to prevent Democrats from providing more money for the Postal Service or state and local election officials struggling to prepare for Nov. 3 elections during a pandemic.
On Friday, he signaled that he might approve funds for the Postal Service.
Last Saturday, Trump signed a series of executive measures on issues including unemployment benefits that economists dismissed as too limited to have a significant effect on an economy hammered by the pandemic.
They have yet to be carried out.
The $2 trillion chasm between the Democrats’ $3 trillion proposal and the Republicans’ $1 trillion offer includes wide gaps in funding for schools, that aid to state and local governments, and unemployment pay.
An impasse over $600-a-week in enhanced unemployment benefits, which expired on July 31, kept financial markets on edge as the Commerce Department reported weaker-than-expected July retail sales growth due to the spiraling pandemic and the end of the enhanced jobless payments.
The unemployment payments had helped buttress consumer spending, according to Federal Reserve officials and economists.
Trump tried to act alone last Saturday with a memorandum proposing an additional $300 per week in unemployment, with states paying claimants another $100 per week, though economists questioned the effectiveness of the limited measure.
Meanwhile, the number of U.S. coronavirus infections approached 5.3 million on Friday, with deaths topping 167,000.
U.S. share prices fell earlier this week after Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Pelosi disclosed there were no coronavirus talks scheduled.
Democrats offered to reduce their proposal by $1 trillion during negotiations with White House officials last week. The White House rejected the offer.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll published early this week found that Americans blame both parties for the inaction.