• President Trump used his Twitter account to call on Republicans to pass a new stimulus bill, ignoring their arguments for the last several weeks that Democratic ideas have been too expensive to consider.
  • Trump’s tweet also supported the idea of a new round of stimulus payments, with the president saying that Americans “desperately” need the new money.
  • Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been at an impasse for weeks now over a new coronavirus stimulus bill.

In life, timing is everything, and if you read between the lines of a new tweet from President Trump that calls on Republicans to pass a huge new stimulus bill, you can’t help but assume at least one thing: The president must surely be aware of the fact that time is running out for him to curry enough favor with voters to win re-election, come November.

How else to explain the fact that he’s been mostly silent as Republicans and Democrats in the Senate — with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin occasionally joining the fray — fought each other to a stalemate over a new stimulus package. The Democrat-controlled House sent a new stimulus measure stuffed to the gills with benefits and billions in aid to the GOP-controlled Senate, where it died on the vine in the face of Republicans whose main priority has now switched to keeping the stimulus price tag as low as possible. The end result — no new bill. And now, after a few weeks of nothing happening, President Trump floated into the maw by lobbing a tweet at no one in particular which seems to undercut Republicans’ entire attitude toward a new stimulus bill over the last several weeks.

“Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans,” Trump encouraged. You might as well, he continued, because “it all comes back to the USA anyway.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany elaborated a bit on the president’s tweet, saying it referred directly to the sub-$1 trillion bill that recently passed the Senate. “It didn’t include direct payments,” she explained. “He wants more than the $500 billion, and he’s very keen to see these direct stimulus payments.”

Could another round of $1,200 checks be a kind of October surprise? Maybe, although it remains to be seen if Republicans will take up this gauntlet that the president has thrown down or ignore it as something he feels like he just has to say in the heat of an election season.

Meantime, Trump’s rival Joe Biden has gotten in on the act, calling for a new kind of stimulus focused on parents.

A plan Biden rolled out on Thursday would temporarily expand the child tax credit during the pandemic and allow parents to receive the increase in the form of monthly payments. For parents with children under 17, the tax credit would increase to $3,000, plus an extra $600 for children under the age of 6.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.