Democrats are pressing for at least $2.2 trillion in stimulus spending, a sum that White House negotiators and Republican leaders have said is far too high. Senate Republicans tried last week to push through a substantially scaled-back package that would provide only about $300 billion in new spending — and did not include the $1,200 stimulus payments — but it did not reach the 60-vote threshold and Democrats called the bill inadequate.
In his tweet, the president falsely asserted that it was Democrats who had opposed the stimulus checks — which have been a part of every aid plan they have proposed, including the $3.4 trillion measure they pushed through the House in May.
Top Democrats, who are under mounting pressure from centrist lawmakers to act on another relief plan before the November elections, seized on Mr. Trump’s comments to try to pressure Republicans to bow to their demands for more spending. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said they “look forward to hearing from the president’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway.”
“We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package,” the two leaders said.
Ms. Pelosi later reiterated the points made in the statement in a phone call with Steven T. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, in which the two also discussed negotiations over a stopgap bill to prevent a government shutdown, according to Drew Hammill, a spokesman for the speaker.
Republicans were bewildered about the president’s tweet.
“That probably needs to get translated for us,” Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican, said when informed of the president’s tweet, which he suggested did not reflect the political reality in the Senate.
“I know kind of what the threshold is for what we can get Republican votes for in the Senate,” Mr. Thune told reporters. “I think if the number gets too high, anything that got passed in the Senate would be passed mostly with Democrat votes and a handful of Republicans, so it’s going to have to stay in sort of a realistic range.”