White House Signals Potential Compromise On Stimulus Sticking Point

(PoliticalLookout.com)-┬áThe White House signaled on Wednesday that it’s open to compromising on a major sticking point of stimulus negotiations.

Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff, said President Donald Trump could possibly support sending more aid to local and state governments as long as the money was restricted. The White House would like to see the money only be used by state and local governments to make up for the loss in tax revenue they’ve experienced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That point was part of the bipartisan stimulus package that came out of the House on Tuesday. The proposal from the Problem Solvers Caucus included $500 billion for state and local governments that could only be used for tax revenue losses.

As Meadows said:

“There was a caveat there that was based on real revenue losses, and that caveat gives me hope that, if we’re willing to look at real facts and real losses, that hopefully we can get to something that actually makes sense.”

To this point, both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said they wouldn’t back a proposal to send more federal aid to state and local governments. They’ve called it a “blue-state bailout” of states that haven’t budgeted well.

Meadows explained:

“The biggest stumbling block is if we use this pandemic as a bailout mechanism for poorly run states that perhaps have not been as fiscally responsible as some others. I think that would be a very difficult hurdle to overcome.”

New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer, one of the co-chairs of the Problem Solvers Caucus, said the group included that language in their proposal specifically to appease Republican leaders. He referred to that specifically on Wednesday when he said:

“You have to prove the expenditures were COVID-related, which we think meets Meadows’ benchmark.”

Representative Tom Malinowski, another Democrat from New Jersey, said the inclusion of the aid for state and local governments reinforces what the Democrats want while compromising on something Republicans are worried about. He said:

“It’s helpful to show that there are Democrats and a significant number of Republicans in the House willing to meet in the middle and that middle ground includes the most important thing (states) need, the state and local relief. What this shows is that there is a large group of Democrats and Republicans in the House that are willing to go where [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell will not and that are willing to support generous relief for our state and local governments.”

While McConnell cast blame on Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the lack of a coronavirus stimulus bill, Meadows struck a slightly more optimistic tone. He said it was “another encouraging sign” that Pelosi said she’d keep the House in session until a deal was agreed upon.

“There’s a growing sense that there’s still some real needs that need to be addressed,” Meadows said. “And I’ve tried to express the willingness on behalf of the White House to openly address them.”