Late on Tuesday, President Trump indicated that he would support specific measures on stimulus checks, help for the airline industry and small business loans, hours after cutting off bipartisan talks for more coronavirus relief.
“The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business. Both of these will be fully paid for with unused funds from the Cares Act. Have this money. I will sign now!” Trump tweeted Tuesday, referring to the coronavirus stimulus package passed in March.
Both provisions were included in stimulus negotiations that were being held between the administration and congressional Democrats that Trump scrapped Tuesday.
Later, Trump tweeted that he would also sign a bill that would give some Americans $1,200 stimulus checks, tagging top negotiators in the post.
The messages come after stocks dropped significantly after Trump pulled the plug on talks for a broader stimulus agreement. All three major stock indexes lost solid gains from earlier in the day and fell into negative territory after the announcement.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a loss of 375 points, roughly 1.3 percent, the S&P 500 closed with a loss of 1.4 percent, and the Nasdaq composite closed down roughly 1.6 percent.
The airline industry also grumbled over the announcement as their stocks sharply dropped.
“We have to hold out that hope,” Industry group Airlines for America (A4A) CEO Nicholas Calio said in a statement on Tuesday. “Time already ran out for U.S. airlines and many of our employees, yet there is a glimmer of hope that our leaders in Washington will act and save these jobs before it’s too late to turn back the clock.”
“The past week has dealt a crushing blow to the American Airlines team and the aviation industry, and we were hopeful that overwhelming bipartisan support for the Payroll Support Program would result in immediate action to protect jobs and service to communities across the country. We will continue to make the case in Washington that action is needed to help workers across the country and lead America to the other side of this pandemic,” added a spokesperson for American Airlines.
The airline industry had pressed Congress and the White House to extend the airline Payroll Support Program (PSP), which allocated $25 billion in aid as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March.
“There is wide, bipartisan support in providing assistance to our industry and we will continue to do everything we can to urge leaders in Washington to pass legislation that will save airline jobs,” a United Airlines spokesperson said in a statement. “As we have made clear, we are eager to reverse the furlough process should Congress pass legislation to extend the CARES Act Payroll Support Program, and we will continue to update our employees on the latest as this unfolds.”
The president has decided to make the economic recovery from the coronavirus-fueled recession a centerpiece of his reelection campaign, repeatedly noting job growth prior to the outbreak.
Still, the unemployment rate is the highest it’s ever been before a presidential election since monthly record-keeping began in 1948. And while the economy has slowly begun recovering losses, adding 661,000 jobs in September, those numbers were well below the projections of economists who had anticipated adding roughly 800,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate currently sits at 7.9 percent.
A new poll out Tuesday showed Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tied on the question of who voters trust to better handle the economy, an alarming development for a campaign that has consistently led on the issue.