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Trump's call for 'higher numbers' in stimulus fight undercuts Republican strategy

September 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a news conference at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump's call for "higher numbers" amid an impasse over a new coronavirus stimulus has upended a GOP effort to unite against Democrats pushing for a larger aid package.

Trump said on Wednesday, "Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans," in a tweet referencing coronavirus stimulus payments -- a message that stands to undercut the strategy Hill Republicans have pursued of opposing Democratic efforts to negotiate a higher top-line number than GOP lawmakers have so far put forward.

Asked what the highest number is that Republicans would support, Thune said on Wednesday, "I mean initially it was a trillion dollars, and we had a lot of resistance to that, so I think our members are in that range, probably," adding, "but as you go upwards from there you start losing Republican support pretty quickly. "

"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 top Democrats in Congress said in a statement.

When asked about Trump's tweet urging Republicans to back more stimulus money, Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican Senate leadership team, said he thinks "the number is going to be higher than our trillion dollars. "

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