President Donald Trump’s sudden end to negotiations with House Democrats for COVID-19 economic relief is a big blow to Nevada families in need of assistance because of the pandemic, Nevada’s congressional leaders said Tuesday.
Trump tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith” and said he had asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to direct all his focus before the election into confirming his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
“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.
But “people in Las Vegas are hurting right now through no fault of their own, and they simply cannot afford to wait,” Rep. Dina Titus said.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives unveiled a $2.2 trillion stimulus package last week that would have restored $600 in extra weekly federal unemployment benefits and given another direct payment of $1,200 to most American taxpayers. It also would have provided $100 billion for a nationwide coronavirus testing and tracing system and safe and effective vaccine distribution.
“The most important thing we can do to bring about an economic recovery is to get this virus under control,” Titus said.
Clark County, which established unemployment records when the Strip was closed for nearly 90 days starting in mid-March because of the pandemic, still has a jobless rate of 15.5%.
“Countless jobs at local restaurants and in the live entertainment industry could be saved if President Trump were willing to work with us to pass a relief bill into law,” Titus said.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned earlier Tuesday that the economic recovery remained fragile seven months into the coronavirus pandemic and said further stimulus funding aimed at supporting America’s most vulnerable was necessary.
Stocks dropped suddenly on Wall Street after Trump ordered a stop to negotiations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung instantly from a gain of about 200 points to a loss of about 300 points. Powell, in remarks before the National Association for Business Economics, made clear that too little support “would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses.”
“A new Supreme Court justice won’t pay rent or feed Nevada families,” Nevada Rep. Susie Lee said in a social media video, alluding to Trump’s stated legislative focus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.