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Pelosi calls for Trump to revamp US$1.8t stimulus proposal

[WASHINGTON] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues that President Donald Trump's latest stimulus proposal falls short of what's needed to shore up the economic recovery and battle the coronavirus.

The letter, dated Tuesday, offered the clearest sign yet that Mr Trump's newfound openness to a bigger coronavirus relief package, since his sudden withdrawal from talks a week ago, isn't sufficient to secure a deal.

Mrs Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated over the weekend on the administration's new US$1.8 trillion proposal. No talks were announced Monday, and it's unclear when or whether they'll resume.

"Tragically, the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand," Mrs Pelosi said in Tuesday's letter. "Significant changes must be made to remedy the Trump proposal's deficiencies." With three weeks to go until Election Day, Mr Trump sought in recent days to re-energise the stimulus talks, upping his offer from a US$1.6 trillion plan. But it's still short of the US$2.2 trillion bill from House Democrats, and the two sides remain far apart on several issues of policy, including how to deploy health care aid and apportion tax credits.

"A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the President only wants his name on a cheque to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up," Mrs Pelosi wrote.

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The speaker noted that Mr Trump had sent his team back into stimulus negotiations last week after his withdrawal on Tuesday triggered a sell-off in the equity market.

Stocks have since recovered, though they were down Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who previously warned that some in the GOP won't back another large stimulus package, has said there probably isn't enough time to get any deal passed before the election.

Mr Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows briefed some Senate Republicans on aspects of the president's offer on Saturday, but they were told any deal that ends up around US$2 trillion is too much, according to people familiar with the discussion. One person said the proposal would get few GOP votes without major changes.

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