Saturday, September 26, 2020
Sept. 26, 2020

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GOP shrugs off Trump’s call for ‘higher’ offer on virus aid

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump parachuted into the coronavirus aid debate Wednesday, upbraiding his Republican allies for proposing too small of a relief package and encouraging both parties to go for a bigger one that would include his priority of $1,200 stimulus checks for most Americans.

But his top GOP allies — who worked for weeks with the White House to construct the very aid package Trump criticized — shrugged off the president’s mid-morning tweet. They also weighed in against a $1.5 trillion aid package backed by moderates in both parties that earned praise from the White House.

All the key players in the entrenched impasse over a COVID-19 rescue package instead focused their energies on finger-pointing and gamesmanship, even as political nervousness was on the rise among Democrats frustrated by a stalemate in which their party shares the blame. There remained no sign that talks between the White House and congressional Democrats would restart.

“Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans,” Trump tweeted.

The smaller bill from Senate Republicans that Trump criticized did not include $300 billion for a second round of Trump-endorsed stimulus checks, which the White House said is a top priority.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says any deal will have to include far more than just another set of “Trump checks” and a handful of other priorities.

At issue is a potential fifth coronavirus relief package that would extend supplemental jobless benefits to replace a $600-per-week COVID unemployment benefit that expired at the end of July.

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