Deadline looms for another coronavirus stimulus package, including more checks for Americans

Nancy Pelosi

Discussions about a potential coronavirus stimulus package appeared to inch closer to a resolution Tuesday, but discussions are continuing between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"I want to do it even bigger than the Democrats", Trump said in an interview with Fox News.

Mnuchin and Pelosi have been negotiating on behalf of the White House and Democrats, respectively, and are still discussing the Democratic $2.2 trillion proposal and the White House's $1.9 trillion counterproposal.

International Monetary Fund chief economist Gita Gopinath told AFP last week that a USA rescue package of around $2 trillion would boost growth in the world's biggest economy by two percentage points next year, over the 3.1 percent GDP rise now forecast. "I'm optimistic because, again, we've been back and forth on all of this". Pelosi said Tuesday that they remain at odds over refundable tax credits for the working poor and families with children, the size of a Democratic-sought aid package for state and local governments, and a liability shield for businesses and other organizations against lawsuits over their COVID preparations.

The last coronavirus relief package, the $1.8 trillion bipartisan CARES Act, passed in March by an overwhelming margin as the economy went into lockdown amid fear and uncertainty about the virus.

However, several Senate Republicans were wary, non-committal or just plain negative about aid of $1.8 trillion or more.

McConnell, in remarks to the Senate, excoriated Pelosi for what he said had been her "all or nothing" position on approving more coronavirus aid.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters that "it'd be hard" to find much support among Senate Republicans to mobilize behind the bill now being negotiated between the White House and Pelosi. He also said he would be willing to accept a deal passed mainly with Democratic support. Still, Trump believes the Republicans will support a second round of stimulus. As of Sunday, the USA has reported more than 8.1 million coronavirus cases and nearly 220,000 deaths.

The head of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Sara Nelson, sent a letter to members of Congress on Tuesday urging action before the election. "There is no retroactivity that Congress can apply to the human toll caused by delayed relief", she said.

Another measure both sides are looking to agree on is more money for airlines as money ran out and major U.S. -based airlines were forced to lay off and furlough thousands of workers. It would provide people with $300 in federal weekly unemployment benefits, while the Democrats want to return to the $600 weekly level in a measure approved earlier this year.

Trump has insisted that Republicans will "come along" once a deal with Democrats is reached, but it is still unclear whether any deal negotiated by Democrats and the Trump administration could get approval in the GOP-led Senate.