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Trump urges Congress to "go big or go home" on coronavirus stimulus bill

Officials sound alarm over surge in COVID cases
Public health officials sound alarm over surge in new coronavirus cases 01:48

Washington — President Trump again urged lawmakers to pass a large coronavirus relief bill, saying in a tweet on Tuesday that Congress should "go big or go home." The president has received pushback from Republicans opposed to a large package, and from Democrats who argue that a proposal by the White House does not go far enough.

"STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!" Mr. Trump wrote, just hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to colleagues accusing the White House of being unserious in its negotiations.

Pelosi noted that the president had abruptly shut down negotiations between the White House and congressional Democrats last week, then said he only wanted Congress to pass limited standalone bills. Days later, the president started advocating for a large stimulus package.

"Secretary Mnuchin came back to the negotiating table, and this weekend, the Administration issued a proposal that amounted to one step forward, two steps back. In fact, in some instances, it makes matters worse," Pelosi said. "A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the President only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up."

Pelosi said that the president's "attitude is shameful," and that "the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand." Democratic House committee chairs released statements over the weekend saying that the White House offer does not do enough with regards to state and local funding, funding for early childhood education, rental assistance and aid for small businesses.

In a contentious interview with CNN later on Tuesday, Pelosi accused anchor Wolf Blitzer of being an "apologist" for Republicans after he asked her why she hadn't worked on finding a deal with the White House.

"They do not share our values, have a little respect that we know something about these subjects," Pelosi said. She knocked a tweet from Congressman Ro Khanna urging Pelosi and the White House to come to the table. Blitzer said former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang also said he believed Pelosi and the White House should reach a deal.

"Honest to God, I really can't get over it. Because Andrew Yang, he's lovely. Ro Khanna, he's lovely. They're not negotiating this situation," Pelosi said.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Friday that Mr. Trump had "approved" a "revised" coronavirus relief package, although he did not offer specifics. 

The House passed a $2.4 trillion relief measure last month, but the Senate has refused to consider it.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he would schedule a vote for a GOP relief bill later this month. Senate Republicans proposed a $500 billion bill in September, but it was blocked by Democrats, who argued that the bill did not go far enough.

"When the full Senate returns on October 19th, our first order of business will be voting again on targeted relief for American workers," McConnell said in a statement.

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