President Donald Trump on Thursday said that pandemic relief negotiations, including possible stimulus payments, are now “working out” after he announced he is calling off talks to allow Congress to focus on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination.
Speaking with Fox News in his first interview since contracting the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, Trump said that “I shut down talks 2 days ago because they weren’t working out. Now they’re starting to work out.”
“We’re talking about airlines and we’re talking about a bigger deal than airlines,” he added.
According to a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke over the phone about a stimulus deal.
The two “spoke by phone at 9:33 a.m.,” spokesman Drew Hammill wrote. “The secretary inquired about a standalone airlines bill. The speaker reminded him that Republicans blocked that bill on Friday [and] asked him to review the DeFazio bill so that they could have an informed conversation,” referring to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who tried to pass an airline funding provision by unanimous agreement. He was rejected on the procedural grounds that he did not have an agreement from GOP leaders.
Trump on Tuesday said he wanted to wait until after the election in November to pass another financial assistance bill to stimulate the economy following months of job losses and governors’ stay-at-home orders. He later called on Congress to pass a stimulus bill including $1,200 payments to individuals and airline funding.
“The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?” he also wrote.
In his interview on Thursday, Trump did not elaborate on the details of the new talks. It’s also not clear when Pelosi and the White House will speak again about the measure.
Earlier this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told a panel that the economy is in need of more stimulus measures.
Pelosi has scaled back her demand for around $3.4 trillion in new aid, saying Democrats who control the House could settle for around $2.2 trillion. The White House went on record several weeks ago, backing as much as $1.6 trillion in aid.
But many Senate Republicans have balked at anything over $1 trillion, with some of them opposed to any aid beyond the more than $3 trillion enacted earlier this year.
Reuters contributed to this report.