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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, on his first full day back to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he was treated for Covid-19, abruptly broke off talks with congressional Democrats on the HEROES Act 2.0 that was approved by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives last Thursday.

Trump announced he had ordered his representatives to stop Covid-19 stimulus talks with Democrats until after the election in a series of tweets Tuesday afternoon.

In a tweet, Trump said the biggest sticking point in the talks was the Democratic demand for aid to cash-strapped state and local governments, which are facing enormous shortfalls in their budgets because of the six-month Covid-19 pandemic.

Included in the House-passed HEROES Act 2.0 was an earmark of $9.5 billion for tribal governments. The breakdown of funds directed to tribes was:

  • $8.5 billion to be dispersed in accordance to a formula developed by the Secretary of Treasury in Consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and tribal governments
  • $1 billion to be split equally between all federally recognized tribes

Separate from the funds devoted to tribal, state or local governments was additional coronavirus response packages—or stimulus checks—which would have been $1,200 per adult and $500 for each dependent. With Trump’s announcement, there is no chance for these funds before the election.

Overall, theHEROES Act 2.0 was a stimulus package worth $2.4 trillion. The White House had offered a $1.6 trillion package.

Trump said on Tuesday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "is not negotiating in good faith."

"President Trump showed his true colors: putting himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the GOP Members of Congress," Pelosi said in a statement. "Walking away from coronavirus talks demonstrates that President Trump is unwilling to crush the virus, as is required by the Heroes Act."

Unless, Trump’s decision is reversed, many American household that have been drastically financially hurt by the pandemic because of layoffs will continue to suffer. The package included relief for industries that have been hit hard by the pandemic, such as the airline and hotel industries.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected]