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Trump’s attack on coronavirus relief splits GOP, threatens recovery

Focused first on the general election and then on baseless attempts to reverse his result, Mr. Trump was largely left out of the negotiations, instead sending Mr. Mnuchin as his chief envoy.

During a private meeting with leading Republicans and leading Democrats to discuss the emerging relief deal, Ms Pelosi at one point lobbied Mr Mnuchin, over the speakerphone in his conference room , four times to express the president’s position on direct payments. “Come on, Steven,” she said when he declined to say, according to a person familiar with the meeting, who disclosed it on condition of anonymity.

Now, by undermining the negotiations Mr. Mnuchin led for the White House and throwing the passage of the $ 2.3 trillion package into limbo with little warning to top Republicans on Capitol Hill, Mr. Trump has risen the likelihood that the party bears the brunt of the blame for the continued delay in providing relief to Americans.

The coronavirus relief program would provide the first significant injection of federal aid since April, when Mr. Trump signed a $ 1.4 trillion government funding package. By rejecting it, the president would also derail some of his own priorities hidden in the measure, such as funding his southwest border wall, funding the Pentagon and a deal to ban surprise medical bills, which his administration had. previously urged lawmakers to pass. A number of the funding arrangements Mr. Trump identified in the catch-all omnibus also matched demands he made in his own budget proposal.

Republicans would again be forced to choose between their party’s leadership in Congress – Mr McCarthy and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who helped negotiate the final details of the stimulus deal – and a president known to fiercely anyone which he considers disloyal.

Mr Trump’s demands also provided a political gift to Democratic leaders, who have come under fire for agreeing to a $ 900 billion relief plan with $ 600 in direct payments after months of pushing several multibillion-dollar proposals. dollars that would have set the payments at twice that amount.

While the House is set to meet on Christmas Eve in a so-called pro forma session – typically a brief meeting that requires a lawmaker to be present and lasts a few minutes – Democrats plan to introduce a stand-alone bill that would provide $ 2,000 in direct payments to American families and ensure that the omnibus is signed. If that request fails without unanimous consent, Democrats plan to officially put the bill to a vote on Monday, according to two people familiar with the plans.

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