Congressman Tom Reed, a New York Republican, suggested that legislators were more likely to pass a “smaller” and “more targeted” stimulus package in the current lame duck session before President-elect Joe Biden and the new Congress are sworn in next January.
Reed is one of a number of Republican legislators who have congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, despite President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the Democrats won the presidential election through widespread electoral fraud. The GOP congressman is a member of the non-partisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, which in September put forward a $1.5 trillion compromise proposal to stimulate the economic impact of the pandemic as Republicans and Democrats remained in deadlock in the negotiations.
In a conversation with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Tuesday morning, Reed hinted that it was less likely that a major stimulus package would pass Congress and be signed by Trump before the end of the current term.
“Obviously, you’re dealing with the same dynamic you had before the election. And if we get it in a lame duck [session], I think you’re going to get a smaller deal that will be very targeted at areas like the aviation industry, like hospitality, like small businesses,” the New York representative said. “The areas that are really hurting right now, if it has a chance to get through.
“If we’re going to get it in the lame duck, I think you’re looking at a smaller deal that will be very focused,” @RepTomReed said about possible economic relief before the end of the year. “The areas that really hurt when it has a chance to get through.” pic.twitter.com/a9EQz8I2UK
– Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) November 10, 2020
Reed pointed to the reality that any deal would require at least 60 votes in a GOP-controlled Senate and 218 votes in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and that Trump would have to sign it. He said a smaller package was “more realistic,” and if legislators wanted to do more, they would “look for a new government” to provide additional economic relief.
Washington Newsday turned to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, for comments on the economic stimulus talks, but they did not respond immediately.
Congress already met bipartisan in March to pass a massive $2.2 trillion stimulus package as a result of nationwide freezes that brought the economy to a standstill. Although the Democrat-controlled House passed a second $3 trillion package in May, Republicans largely rejected their bill as a “wish list. Then, at the end of July, the Republicans, with Trump in the Senate, launched a $1 trillion package.
Since then negotiations have gone back and forth, with the White House offering a $1.8 trillion package before the election and the Democrats approving a $2.2 trillion deal in early October. Although Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who led the talks on behalf of the Trump administration, seemed close to a compromise before the election, no agreement was ever reached. Pelosi stressed that there were still significant differences of opinion in the legislative process over the language of how the federal government would respond to the spreading pandemic.
Several Democrats urged Pelosi to accept the White House agreement, including Congressman Max Rose, a moderate New Yorker, and Congressman Ro Khanna, a progressive Californian. Although Khanna won re-election easily, Rose seems to be clearly behind his Republican opponent, with 95 percent of his district reporting it. In a post-election interview with Axios, Khanna said that the Democrats should definitely accept a $1.8 trillion deal.
“I think we would definitely want to do that deal. And it will be disastrous if we don’t,” said the California progressive.
It is unclear whether Trump’s $1.8 trillion offer is still on the table, as the president is now locked into legal challenges to the presidential election results. The Washington Post reported that McConnell will play a greater role in the upcoming economic talks. Several Republicans in the Senate, however, have repeatedly