By Lenore Fedow
lenore.fedow@nationaljeweler.com
The White House and Congress shouldn’t wait to pass a COVID-19 stimulus relief package, the National Retail Federation said in a recent statement.
Washington, D.C.—President Donald Trump said Thursday that talks of another COVID-19 stimulus package are underway, backtracking on a statement he made Tuesday that talks would cease until after the November election.

“I shut down talks two days ago because they weren’t working out,” the president said during an interview on the Fox Business channel. “Now they are starting to work out. We’re starting to have some very productive talks.”

With millions out of work and businesses of all sizes struggling, the initial statement that talks would be put on hold sent the market into a panic.

Though the talks may be back on track, it’s unclear when or if an agreement will be reached.

In a statement Tuesday, the National Retail Federation said the White House and Congress should not wait to pass pandemic recovery legislation.

“The pandemic isn’t over and neither is the economic crisis it has created,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay.

“There are many families still struggling to make ends meet and businesses facing obstacles to putting workers back on the payroll.”

To get the economy back on track, the country needs a vaccine and another stimulus package, he said.


The retail trade organization has been a vocal proponent of expanding the Paycheck Protection Program, giving tax credits for the cost of personal protective equipment, and protecting businesses that follow the safety guidelines set by public health agencies against lawsuits.

The NRF is among the more than 200 trade associations that form the COVID Relief Now coalition, which sent a letter to Congress Sept. 30 stressing the need for economic support.

The letter stated: “Congress needs to rise to the occasion and cast partisanship aside to provide a lifeline to get through this pandemic. Congress’ failure to act now will result in negative economic ramifications that will reverberate for decades.”

Relief negotiations have been ongoing, with the Democrat-led House of Representatives passing a $2.2 trillion relief bill, a revision of the $3 trillion bill it passed in May.

Republicans were unanimous in their opposition to the bill, though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did continue talks.

Mnuchin presented a $1.6 trillion counter offer just before Trump shut down the talks Tuesday.

“When the president did his strange tweet that said we’re walking away from the negotiations, it was like, what?,” Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday.

“We’ve all been working very hard to find our common ground, to agree on language so that we have an understanding of what the legislation will do,” she said.

As of Thursday, Pelosi said she was ready to continue the conversation.


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