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President Trump now full-go on striking 'big' COVID relief deal with Congress just 3 days after scrapping negotiations


Trump wants a deal before the election

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Just three days after abruptly calling for the end of coronavirus relief negotiations until after the election, President Donald Trump has now signaled that he is determined to strike a big deal with Congress before the election.

"Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!" the president tweeted Friday morning.

What are the details?

Earlier in the morning, Jake Sherman of Politico reported that Trump now wanted a deal "badly" and that White House officials were planning on working all next week to get it done.

Later, Sherman and company reported in the Politico Playbook PM that the White House's new top-line number is $1.8 trillion, up from the GOP's previous top line, which was $1.5 trillion.

The Trump administration is also aiming for $300 billion in state and local funding — which is also higher than before but also still likely too low for Democrats — and a boost in stimulus payments to replace the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The developments are a complete reversal from the president's position earlier this week, when he tweeted that negotiations were off until after Nov. 3, blaming Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) for "not negotiating in good faith."

"I am rejecting their request and ... 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," he added.

Hours later, he put the ball in Pelosi's court by tweeting his support for standalone $1,200 stimulus checks, airline payroll support, and small business funding.

Why the reversal?

Speculation reportedly swirled on Capitol Hill following news that Trump wanted negotiations to continue.

Axios reported that the change of heart came as a result of negative reactions to his tweet.

"Trump was spooked after seeing the instant drop in the stock market and intense backlash to his tweet, and he has since directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to push for a more comprehensive relief bill before the election," the news outlet said.

Politico was less sure in its analysis. "He may want noise to fill the silence. Maybe he wants a bump in the stock market. We're not mood readers or psychiatrists or psychics," that report stated.

What else?

Despite the administration's renewed desire to make an agreement, negotiations still have a long way to go and it may be particularly difficult to get fiscal conservatives on board should the administration meet some Democratic demands.

In response to the news, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said, "The situation is kind of murky, and I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage. I'd like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April, but I think that's unlikely in the next three weeks."

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