Millions of Americans are out of work, with millions more falling into poverty.
Donald Trump on Thursday said the reason he won't agree to sign a coronavirus relief bill House Democrats passed earlier this month is that it would hurt his ego.
Trump made the comments in an interview with Fox Business' Stuart Varney, who asked him: "So why not just go with Speaker Pelosi's $2.2 trillion deal?"
Trump replied that "she wants money for things that you would never, you just couldn't, just, your pride couldn’t let it happen."
The House has passed two virus relief bills that include another round of $1,200 payments to Americans earning under a certain threshold, while also extending a $600 weekly unemployment insurance boost that experts said kept millions out of poverty.
Senate Republicans, however, have refused to take up the House bills. The GOP objected to the price tag and the $600 unemployment checks, claiming they make workers lazy and disincentivize them from finding work. It's an accusation that's been proven false.
Yet while Senate Republicans have been the biggest roadblock to a deal, Trump has also been a hindrance.
Trump told Republicans on Oct. 6 to walk away from negotiations altogether.
"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 tweeted.
After his refusal to deal with coronavirus aid until after the election was widely panned, he came back and told Republicans "Go big!" He told right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh: "I would like to see a bigger stimulus package frankly than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering."
A study released Thursday found 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty amid the pandemic and after the expiration of the weekly $600 additional payments, with Black and Hispanic populations hardest hit.
Polls show voters want a virus relief deal even as Republicans refuse to pass one.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.