CORONAVIRUS

Second stimulus check: Trump, McConnell, Mnuchin, Pelosi...

As negotiations continue on a new coronavirus relief bill, we round up what all the key players have been saying about developments of another round of payments.

Second stimulus check: Trump, McConnell, Mnuchin, Pelosi...

As Americans await agreement being reached between US lawmakers on another coronavirus relief package, we attempt to keep up to date with what the main players in the process are saying.

Over the last few days there have been mixed messages from the various sides, as Republicans, Democrats and the White House make their views heard, while often pointing fingers at others for slowing down a successful compromise. Read for yourself what they have said - whether in a press conference, TV interview, Twitter post or by other means - and piece together your own picture of where we are...

Second stimulus checks: what are they saying?

Donald Trump (US President)

“I like the larger amount, I’ve said that,” President Trump said about the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus proposal unveiled on Tuesday. “Some of the Republicans disagree, but I think I can convince them to go along with that because I like the larger number. I want to see people get money. Something like that... We’re getting closer.”

Election stimulus | President Donald Trump has a vested interest in American households feeling positive about government actions.

On Wednesday Trump had tweeted:

‘Democrats are “heartless”. They don’t want to give STIMULUS PAYMENTS to people who desperately need the money, and whose fault it was NOT that the plague came in from China. Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!),’ Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Mark Meadows (White House Chief of Staff)

On Thursday, speaking to Fox, Meadows encouraged the media to take their cameras to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday: “You’re going to see members of Congress leaving Washington, D.C. to go home and pretend like they’re working hard on this particular deal when, in fact, the checks are not going out to the American people and unemployment benefits will start to cease.”

He went on to explain that he had been “on the phone with some Democrat House members… as well as a few senators last night” and on a positive note that he can see that there are “Republican senators and House members that are trying to come together.”

He also said people should “call on their House member to make sure that they stay here [and] that we negotiate.”

“At least let's use this $1.5 trillion new recommendation as a foundation for new negotiations,” he continued.

Meadows also said that President Trump “was certainly willing to embrace the 1.5 trillion-dollar number that was put out in the last day or so.”

“We have got tens of thousands of people that are about to be laid off so if nothing more, let's go ahead and put that package on the floor and pass that because, hopefully, all of us can agree that laying off airline workers at this particular time is not something we should do,” Meadows said.

Mitch McConnell (Majority Leader)

"Republican Senators, like working families across the country, had hoped the Senate would be spending this week completing more bipartisan pandemic relief," McConnell said in the Senate. "Since Democrats are stonewalling pandemic relief, the Senate is using our time to confirm more well-qualified judicial nominees to lifetime positions on the federal bench."

This followed his tweet on Wednesday:

'Even Speaker Pelosi’s own House Democrats are sick of her blocking COVID-19 relief. But she insists anything short of her multi-trillion wish list would make Democrats “a cheap date.” What a joke. People are hurting. They need help. Not the Speaker's pointless political games.'

Steven Mnuchin (US Treasury Secretary)

"There is a compromise if the [House] speaker is willing to move forward. I am somewhat concerned that she's afraid any deal would be good for the president. I've told the speaker [Nancy Pelosi] I am available anytime to negotiation, no conditions.”

“The president and I believe we should do more stimulus”

Steven Mnuchin

"Now is not the time to worry about shrinking the deficit or shrinking the Fed balance sheet.”

Mike Pence (US Vice President)

“He [President Trump] said that we are going to spare no expense to help families and businesses, large and small, to weather the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Nobody wants to give direct payments to American families more than President Donald Trump again,” Pence continued. “We sent those checks to American families, it helped people through this tough time, we want to continue the Payment Protection Program…”

“What we’ve made clear is that we’re not going to allow Democrats in Congress to use a coronavirus relief bill to bail out poorly run Democratic states. Now, we can focus just on another relief bill, and we’re continuing to do that in good faith.”

Nancy Pelosi (House Speaker)

Speaking to reporters on Thursday about the day her Democratic party passed their HEROES Act bill in the House.

“Since that time, my members will attest, the needs have only grown since May 15, four months ago,” Pelosi said, referring to the day Democrats passed their own sprawling $3.4 trillion package. “The needs for the small businesses, for the restaurants, for transportation and the rest.”

She was also quick to knock back a question about 'moderate' Democrats pressing for a narrower relief package, saying to reporters: “they don’t say it to me.”

Holding out for a HEROES Act | Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Earlier in the week she had responded to President Trump's call for higher stimulus payments.

“We look forward to hearing from the president’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway with a bill that is equal to the massive health and economic crises gripping our nation," Pelosi (along with Chuck Schumer) said in a statement.

Chuck Schumer (Senate Minority Leader)

“Democrats in the House and Senate will keep fighting for a comprehensive plan that meets the needs of all of those who have been hurt,” Schumer told reporters on Thursday.

Joe Biden (Democratic Presidential Candidate)

Not from his own mouth but his website has stated his new plan to allow families with children to receive a monthly federal payment of between $250 to $300 during the pandemic..

'Biden's CTC expansion will provide thousands of dollars of tax relief for middle-class households," Biden's website announced. "It will also help the most-hard pressed working families avoid poverty and attain greater economic security."

Future decision maker? Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden.

It would take effect in 2021 and would remain in place "as long as economic conditions require," it said.

This comes after Biden's senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan said: ”We have always contemplated the need for additional stimulus. We will confront the situation we find in January."

Other related comments:

Senate Republicans have shown little desire for going further than the $650 billion relief package they attempted to push through the Senate last week. And the response from Democrats - who denied it passing due to the belief it was a long way off what the country needs - has led some to believe we're going to be waiting quite some time.

Senator Mike Braun, for one, said: “I think that, my personal opinion, not much is going to happen between now and the election.”

“Quite simply, it'll be a stain on this institution, on 1600 Pennsylvania," Rep. Dean Phillips stated, after being asked about Congress potentially ending another week without significant progress being made. "We created a framework that is reasonable," continued one of those on the Problems Solvers group, "which is not easy to do in this culture or atmosphere."

And living up to his name, Sen. Roy Blunt said: "We don’t have much time to get this done,”