US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he halted negotiations to provide badly-needed stimulus for the US economy until after the presidential election.
Trump blamed Democrats, saying House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seeking "$2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States," claiming the funds are "in no way related to COVID-19."
"We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith. I am rejecting their request," the president said on Twitter. "I 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."
Trump said he asked Mitch McConnell, the Senate's Republican majority leader, to instead focus on confirming his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
Trump's decision to call off the talks comes as the US continues to grapple with the economic devastation from the coronavirus pandemic. Unemployment remains stubbornly high at nearly 8%, more than double pre-pandemic levels of 3.8% in February.
House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package Thursday, but it faces stiff opposition from the Republican-controlled Senate where it is unlikely to advance.
Markets fell sharply following the president’s announcement with all three indices erasing earlier gains and closing with losses.
The Dow plummeted 375 points while the S&P 500 lost 1.4% and the Nasdaq fell more than 1.5%.
Pelosi slammed the president for calling off the talks, saying he put "himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the GOP Members of Congress."
The GOP, or Grand Old Party, in another name for Republicans.
"Clearly, the White House is in complete disarray. Sadly, they are rejecting the urgent warnings of Fed Chairman Powell today," she said in a statement.
She was alluding to Fed Chair Jerome Powell who earlier in the day cautioned that the economic recovery "is still far from complete," and that "too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses."
"By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller. Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste. The recovery will be stronger and move faster if monetary policy and fiscal policy continue to work side by side to provide support to the economy until it is clearly out of the woods," Powell said.
By Michael Hernandez