U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Republicans to support a bigger COVID-19 relief package amid slow economic recovery in recent months.
“Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!),” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
Senate Republicans initially unveiled a 1 trillion-U.S.-dollar COVID-19 relief package in late July, but failed to advance a slimmed-down proposal containing roughly 650 billion dollars in total spending last week, as all Democrats opposed the measure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said Wednesday that they were “encouraged” by Trump’s tweet after months of stalled negotiations.
“We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.
“We look forward to hearing from the President’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway with a bill that is equal to the massive health and economic crises gripping our nation,” they said.
House Democrats unveiled a 3-trillion-dollar relief proposal in May, which didn’t gain support from Republicans.
Democrats won’t accept any package lower than 2.2 trillion dollars, Pelosi said in recent weeks.
More fiscal support is likely to be needed to support economic recovery as numerous small businesses are struggling, and state and local governments are in dire financial situation, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday.
“It will take a while to get back to the levels of economic activity and employment that prevailed at the beginning of this year, and it may take continued support from both monetary and fiscal policy to achieve that,” he said.
About 60 percent of U.S. business closures since March are permanent, indicating the devastating fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released by U.S. online review site Yelp on Wednesday.
As of Aug. 31, 163,735 U.S. businesses on Yelp have closed due to the pandemic since March 1, a 23 percent increase since July 10, and 97,966 businesses have permanently closed, the report said.