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Coronavirus USA

Second stimulus check: what's the current disagreement between Democrats and Republicans?

Donald Trump told Fox Business News that stimulus package negotiations have stalled due to "the post office and the $3.5 billion for mail-in voting."

Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic response at the White House in Washington.

President Donald Trump on Thursday laid out the main stumbling blocks preventing the White House and senior Democrats from reaching a consensus on a fresh stimulus package after talks between the two parties broke down last week. Republicans and Democrats had aimed to reach a deal before the Senate went into recess on August 7 but negotiators from both sides failed to agree on a variety of issues including funding for states and unemployment benefits.

The impasse led Trump to sign executive orders last Saturday covering unemployment benefits, suspend evictions, student loan payments and payroll taxes, leaving the question of a second round of stimulus checks temporarily on the shelf.

Trump: "If we don't make the deal, they can't have the money"

However, speaking to Fox Business Network on Thursday, Trump suggested that the US Postal Service and his personal bugbear, mail-in voting were to blame for the stalled negotiations.

Trump said his negotiators have resisted Democrats' calls for additional money to help US election officials prepare for a presidential contest during a pandemic that has killed more than 165,000 Americans and presented severe logistical challenges to organizing large events like the November presidential elections.

"The items are the post office and the $3.5 billion for mail-in voting," Trump said, adding that Democrats want to give the post office $25 billion. "If we don't make the deal, that means they can't have the money, that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. It just can't happen."

Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that mail-in voting, a way to allow citizens to take part in the election without creating crowding that raises the risk of transmitting Covid-19, is likely to be rife with fraud.

Experts who study elections say there is little proof that this is the case.

Stimulus package talks stalled 

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday suggested the Trump administration and Democrats could reach a coronavirus aid deal as soon as this week

However, Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have not met with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in six days.

Both sides remain some $2 trillion apart in their coronavirus relief funding packages. The Democrats laid out $3 trillion in funding in the HEROES Act in May with the Republicans responding with the $1 trillion HEALS Act last month.

US registers highest daily Covid-19 toll since mid-May

The Washington Post reported that the United States recorded almost 1,500 Covid-19 related fatalities on Wednesday, marking the deadliest day of the pandemic in the country since mid-May. 

Live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

You can stay up-to-date with the latest US developments in the coronavirus crisis by following our dedicated live blog.


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