President Donald Trump abruptlyput an end to months of negotiations over a COVID-19 relief package Tuesday, rejecting the Democrats’ latest offer and saying he wanted to postpone negotiations until after the November election.
Americans waiting for urgently needed aid will have to wait at least another month.
In a Tuesday afternoon tweet, Trump said Democrats were “not negotiating in good faith.” He told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to instead “focus full time” on confirming Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump tweeted.
The president’s rejection and insistence on restarting negotiations after Nov. 3 mean both parties head into a crucial election without more relief for Americans struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to unprecedented levels of unemployment and caused businesses to suffer as states impose social distancing measures.
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump had put his interests above the country’s and said he was “unwilling to crush the virus.”
“Clearly, the White House is in complete disarray,” she said.
Hours before Trump spiked the talks, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urged Congress to pass more relief, saying inadequate support would weaken recovery from the coronavirus recession.
Markets, which had been bolstered by the hopes of a deal, plunged after Trump’s announcement. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 376 points, or 1.3%, to 27,773 after rising about 200 points earlier on expectations for an agreement. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 48 points, or 1.4%, at 3,361 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 1.6% to 11,155.