Commenting on events in the other Washington these days is unusually tricky. Any comment should come with a time stamp and a sell-by date. We ventured into the weeds yesterday as our post of Fed chair Jerome Powell’s speech tied the health of the economic recovery to a federal relief package. Hours later, the president called a halt to negotiations. Today, it appears the halt was, perhaps, not exactly a halt but a shift in tactics.
The president has subsequently proposed two relief measures.
Only hours after unexpectedly ending negotiations on another federal coronavirus rescue package, President Donald Trump on Tuesday night urged Congress to pass standalone bills on direct payments and assistance to airlines and small businesses — all measures that would most likely have been included in the larger piece of legislation that was being negotiated between the White House and Democrats.
Major US airlines are moving to layoff 32,000 workers in the coming weeks, along with other major companies like Disney. It has increased pressure on the administration to strike a deal with Democrats. In a series of late-night tweets, Trump called on both parties to support the provisions.
“The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business,” he wrote on Twitter, adding he would “sign now.”
In another tweet posted less than half an hour later, Trump said he was ready to sign a separate piece of legislation to provide $1,200 direct payments for American taxpayers.
We expect more on this later today. But we’ll take a pass on the give-and-take for a while.