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On The Money: Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now 'working out' | Pelosi shoots down piecemeal approach | Democrats raise questions about Trump tax audits

On The Money: Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now 'working out' | Pelosi shoots down piecemeal approach | Democrats raise questions about Trump tax audits
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Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now 'working out' Two days after calling off coronavirus relief talks with Democrats, President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE did a full 180-degree turn and said Thursday that he was now negotiating a “bigger deal” than a narrowly focused package to rescue airlines.

“I shut down talks two days ago because they weren’t working out. Now they’re starting to work out,” Trump said in the phone interview with Fox Business host Maria BartiromoMaria Sara BartiromoMeadows criticizes veteran journalist Lesley Stahl as an 'opinion journalist' Greenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox Hillicon Valley: DOJ accuses Russian hackers of targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections | Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats | House Democrats slam FCC over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump MORE.

“We’re talking about airlines and we’re talking about a bigger deal than airlines,” he said.

Even so, there was no evidence that the two sides had restarted talks on a broader, trillion-dollar-plus stimulus package, and the timing of Trump’s bullish remarks came on the Fox Business Network just before the stock market opened.

But Pelosi has rejected that piecemeal approach without assurances from the White House that President Trump will support a much larger comprehensive aid package.

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"The comment I made to the administration last night was: We're happy to review what that standalone bill would look like as part of a bigger bill — if there is a bigger bill," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "But there is no standalone bill."

Pelosi also spoke with Mnuchin later Thursday. According to Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, “The Secretary made clear the President's interest in reaching such an agreement. The Speaker pointed out that, unfortunately, the White House Communications Director contradicted that assertion during their call. The Speaker trusts that the Secretary speaks for the President.”

LEADING THE DAY

Deficit hit record-shattering $3.1T in 2020: CBO: The federal deficit for 2020 is believed to have hit a record-smashing $3.1 trillion in 2020, well over double the highest deficit on record, according to an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office released Thursday.

  • Even before the pandemic, the deficit was on track to exceed $1 trillion for the only time since the four-year period following the Great Recession. The fiscal response to that economic downturn led to the previous record deficit of $1.4 trillion in 2009, but that number steadily declined until the mid-2010s.
  • Since President Trump took office, the deficit has grown dramatically on the back of unfunded tax cuts and increased spending on both defense and domestic priorities.
  • But the onset of the novel coronavirus and the massive government response exploded the deficit this year, though the estimate is below the $3.3 trillion expected even a few weeks ago.

The Hill’s Niv Elis breaks down the data here.

 

Top Democrats call for investigation into interference in Trump's audits: Two top Senate Democrats are calling for Treasury Department inspectors general to investigate whether there has been any inappropriate interference into IRS audits of President Trump.

The request Thursday, from Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenPlaintiff and defendant from Obergefell v. Hodges unite to oppose Barrett's confirmation Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing House Democrats slam FCC chairman over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump MORE (D-Ore.), comes after The New York Times reported last week that Trump has been subject to a years-long audit over a $72.9 million refund he claimed in 2010.

"Due to significant concerns of potential efforts to undermine the integrity of the mandatory audit process and other audits within the IRS, it is essential that the Office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) ensure the appropriate safeguards remain in place to prevent such interference at the agency," Schumer and Wyden wrote in a letter to the leaders of the two offices.

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda has more here.

GOOD TO KNOW