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Trump says he’d go over $1.8 trillion on stimulus, blames Pelosi

Saleha Mohsin, Billy House and Justin Sink

President Donald Trump said he’d support a fiscal stimulus package in excess of $1.8 trillion – his administration’s most recent negotiating proposal – but blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for holding up a deal.

“We’re not holding it up, she’s holding it up,” Trump said in an interview Thursday on Fox Business. “She wants to wait until after the election. She thinks it hurts the Republicans.”

Pelosi is scheduled to have another call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Thursday in a continuing saga of talks on a Covid-19 relief package. Democrats have sought a $2.2 trillion effort, including a number of priorities that Republicans reject.

President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House after attending a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Washington.

“Absolutely I would” go over $1.8 trillion, Trump said Thursday, echoing his mantra “go big or go home.” Senate Republicans haven’t endorsed such a large package, however. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been among those predicting that politics would prevent an agreement prior to Election Day.

Mnuchin said earlier Thursday that Pelosi’s “all or nothing approach doesn’t make sense for the American people,” though he and the administration are “not giving up” in the search for an agreement.

Trump indicated he’d be open to calling Pelosi on the stimulus. “But I know my people. I know life. She’s got a lot of problems. She’s got a lot of mental problems and it’s going to be very hard to do anything with her.”

Trump and Mnuchin both said they’d like to deploy left-over funds from the March stimulus act. McConnell has a vote planned next week on using such money to help small businesses, though Democrats have opposed a piecemeal approach to providing assistance.

Mnuchin said that there is $300 billion left from the Cares Act that is “sitting in the Treasury bank account right now, ready to go” if Congress could approve it for repurposing.

The Treasury chief also said, speaking on CNBC, that he wouldn’t let differences with Pelosi on a national coronavirus testing plan get in the way of a deal. The House speaker said Wednesday that she was hoping to get “better language back” on that issue Thursday.

Other roadblocks to a deal have included differences on tax credits for lower-income families and for real-estate and other businesses, along with the magnitude of support for state and local authorities.