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Trump tells Republicans to go for ‘much higher numbers’ on stimulus bill

Sept. 16 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday encouraged Republicans to agree on a COVID-19 stimulus bill with “much higher numbers” as Congress remains deadlocked on a new deal.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump seemed to call on Republicans to meet Democratic demands for a more expensive and sweeping coronavirus relief bill, including another round of stimulus payments, and funding for state and local governments.

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“Go for the much higher numbers Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!),” Trump wrote.

Trump’s comments came as the House returned to Capitol Hill on Monday with about a month to strike a deal before they are set to depart again in preparation for November’s election.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer issued a statement in response to Trump’s tweet

“We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package,” they wrote. “We look forward to hearing from the president’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway with a bill that is equal to the massive health and economic crises gripping our nation.”

Last week, Senate Democrats blocked a $300 billion “skinny” bill that had been introduced by Republicans, which included a $300 weekly unemployment payment, another round of paycheck loans for small businesses, a loan to fund the U.S. Postal Service, and money to reopen schools and colleges, but no additional stimulus payments to individual Americans.

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In May, the House passed a $3 trillion bill known as the Heroes Act that provided a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks for all Americans, $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits, an expanded moratorium on evictions and funding for states as well as the U.S. Postal Service.

That bill, however, failed to gain traction in the Senate amid opposition from Republicans and a threat by Trump that he would veto the measure if it was sent to his desk.

In recent weeks, Democrats have agreed to scale down the size of their proposed plan to about $2.2 trillion, while Republicans have set their limit at about half that total.

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