Trump says he's calling off stimulus negotiations with Democrats 'until after the election'

  • President Donald Trump said he instructed his administration's negotiators to stop coronavirus stimulus negotiations with Democrats until after the Nov. 3 election. 
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had talked in recent days as they pushed to strike a relief deal. 
  • The economy is still struggling under the weight of coronavirus-related shutdowns as millions of Americans have not returned to work. 

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he has told his administration's negotiators to end coronavirus stimulus talks with Democrats until after the Nov. 3 election.

The declaration, if the White House follows through on it, would halt an ongoing push to send trillions of dollars more in relief to Americans as the outbreak rampages through the U.S. and the economy struggles to recover from virus-related shutdowns. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke for an hour about a relief package on Monday and planned to talk again Tuesday.

"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 on Tuesday. 

The president added that he has asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to "focus full time" on confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Trump spoke with Republican congressional leaders about stimulus plans earlier in the day.

In a statement responding to Trump's tweets, Pelosi said Trump "showed his true colors: putting himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the GOP Members of Congress." She added that "walking away from coronavirus talks demonstrates that President Trump is unwilling to crush the virus."

Investors punished stocks in response to Trump's tweets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 300 points, about 1.1%, in the minutes following the announcement.

Though talks had made little progress for months, traders had grown more hopeful that the sides could reach a deal before the election as many individuals and businesses struggle during the ongoing outbreak.

Congress has failed to deliver new relief money to individuals for months as millions of Americans left jobless by the pandemic struggle to pay for food, rent and other costs of living. Lifelines that sustained the economy throughout the early stages of the pandemic, including the $600 per week unemployment benefit and the window to apply for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans, lapsed weeks ago. 

In his tweets Tuesday, Trump appeared to argue the U.S. economy does not need any more stimulus. He wrote that "we are leading the World in Economic Recovery, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!" 

While the U.S. quickly regained many of the jobs lost earlier this year, a weaker than expected nonfarm payroll gain of 661,000 in September fueled more concerns about the U.S. economic recovery slowing. The unemployment rate came in at 7.9%, still significantly higher than before the pandemic hit. 

Trump's push to stop negotiations came only hours after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urged Congress to approve more fiscal stimulus. He said a lack of sustained support from the federal government could "lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses."

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