US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Trump stimulus proposal is 'one step forward, two steps back'

Pelosi (above) said the proposal would need changes to get support from congressional Democrats.
Pelosi (above) said the proposal would need changes to get support from congressional Democrats.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday (Oct 10) said a new US$1.8 trillion (S$2.4 trillion) economic stimulus proposal from the Trump administration"amounted to one step forward, two steps back" and would need changes to get support from congressional Democrats.

In a weekly letter to Democratic colleagues, Pelosi said the Trump administration's proposal lacked a "strategic plan to crush the virus" and gave President Donald Trump too much discretion to decide how funds were allocated.

"At this point, we still have disagreement on many priorities, and Democrats are awaiting language from the Administration on several provisions as the negotiations on the overall funding amount continue," Pelosi's letter said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin floated the US$1.8 trillion proposal in a 30-minute Friday afternoon phone conversation, according to the White House.

The new White House package was higher than an earlier US$1.6 trillion Mnuchin offer and closer to the US$2.2 trillion that the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed last week.

White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said the administration wanted to keep spending below US$2 trillion but was eager to enact a fresh round of direct payments to individuals as well as aid small businesses and airlines.

Friday marked the third straight day of talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in Congress, said on Friday he doubted lawmakers would pass a package before the Nov 3 election, although he has not directly participated in the talks.

"The proximity to the election and the differences of opinion over what is needed at this particular juncture are pretty vast," McConnell told a news conference in his home state of Kentucky.

There was no immediate comment on Saturday from the Treasury, White House, or McConnell's office.