A White House petition launched Thursday is urging congressional leaders and President Donald Trump to hold a Joint Stimulus Summit on September 25 to resolve the impasse between Democrats and Republicans over a package of coronavirus-related economic aid. The goal of the petition is to garner 100,000 signatures.
“The political impasse that has halted Congress from passing crucial legislation for the American people is unacceptable. In times of national catastrophe, it is the duty of the federal government to maintain transparency and deliver aid to its struggling citizens,” the petition reads.
“With COVID-19 ravaging the country, time is of the essence. Cases are on the rise in several areas, human health continues to be damaged, and peoples’ livelihoods are at stake. The lack of compromise, political polarization, and poor communication between government officials is an insult to those who elected you in the first place.”
“The people are in desperate need of your help and neglecting your duties is not an option. We cannot afford to wait until election season for political convenience,” it concluded, urging Congress to rise to the occasion.
A bipartisan group of House members from the Problem Solvers Caucus unveiled a proposal this week for a $1.5 trillion stimulus.
The White House said it didn’t support a provision in that proposal that would allocate another $500 billion in aid to state and local government, although the president has been urging the GOP to go higher.
“I agree with a lot of it,” the president said in a press conference Wednesday. “I think the things I don’t agree, we can probably negotiate. But I think we’ve made some progress over the last week.”
He urged the GOP to include another round of stimulus checks because he “want[s] to see people get money.”
A Republican bill introduced in the Senate this week included just $300 billion in new spending and quickly failed.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been pushing for a $2.2 trillion compromise, down from the original $3.4 trillion price tag of the HEROES Act.
“It’s hard to see how we can go any lower,” she said at a Thursday morning press conference, adding that Democrats have been the more flexible party on negotiations for a stimulus package.
“We have compromised,” said Pelosi. “We came down a trillion dollars, we asked them to go up a trillion dollars. Instead they went down.”
“Oh I want to be back at the negotiating table,” said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. “I don’t believe Speaker Pelosi actually wants to come to an agreement.”
He said Republicans are willing to compromise on some Democratic Party priorities like funding for struggling state and local governments, referring to $100 billion they already approved for state aid.
“No, we put $100 billion already toward the states,” said McCarthy. “I think the states need help and assistance, we’re more than willing to help with that.”
On Thursday morning Meadows told Fox News that the president was “certainly willing to embrace the 1.5 trillion-dollar number that was put out in the last day or so.”
“At least let’s use this $1.5 trillion new recommendation as a foundation for new negotiations,” he said.