JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon: Congress should 'just split the baby' on coronavirus stimulus

Denitsa Tsekova
·Reporter
·3 min read

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called on Congress to pass another stimulus package to help the economy and struggling Americans get through the “toughest part of COVID.”

“We have this big debate: ‘Is it $2.2 trillion, $1.5 trillion?’ You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said at The New York Times DealBook Online Summit on Wednesday. “Just split the baby and move on. I mean this is childish behavior on the part of our politicians. We need to help the citizens of America.”

Stimulus talks stalled before the election and the two parties have not returned to negotiating a package. Before that, the two parties came close on a deal’s price tag with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) latest $2.2 trillion proposal and the White House’s “almost $1.9 trillion” proposal.

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co is pictured on November 6, 2018 at the Compagnons du Devoir office in Pantin, near Paris during the presentation of a project by the US bank for the Ile-de-France region. (Photo by ERIC PIERMONT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co is pictured on November 6, 2018 at the Compagnons du Devoir office in Pantin, near Paris during the presentation of a project by the US bank for the Ile-de-France region. (Photo by ERIC PIERMONT / AFP)

Dimon’s usage of the phrase “split the baby” would mean that both parties could claim a partial victory. It’s a reference to the Judgment of Solomon story from the Hebrew Bible, which didn’t actually involve splitting a baby, but rather was a proposed solution by King Solomon to determine the real mother of the baby.

If a stimulus deal is not reached by the end of the year, more relief provisions will expire, leaving Americans with limited government support this winter. Up to 12 million Americans are expected to lose unemployment benefits coverage when the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs expire.

“It's got zero to do with Democrats, Republicans,” Dimon said. “It's got to do with helping those people get through the toughest part of COVID and we're not through it yet.”

‘Just get it done’

While the White House previously offered $1.9 trillion for a deal, Senate Republicans — who are now likely leading the negotiations — support a much smaller deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) latest proposal was worth just $500 billion, opening up a huge gap between the two parties on funding.

So far, Pelosi and McConnell haven’t even returned to negotiations, only exchanging statements that urge each other to resume negotiating and compromise.

“Democrats still want coronavirus relief for the entire country held hostage over a massive slush fund for their own use,” McConnell said from the Senate floor on Tuesday.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrive to watch the casket with the remains of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) being carried from the U.S. Capitol building, in Washington, U.S., July 29, 2020. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrive to watch the casket with the remains of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) being carried from the U.S. Capitol building, in Washington, U.S., July 29, 2020. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS

Pelosi responded in a joint letter with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday, requesting McConnell to “join them at the negotiating table this week,” so that they can work on the stimulus deal.

Asked whether he spoke to Pelosi or McConnell, Dimon said that he had seen Pelosi a couple of weeks ago. If he saw them now, he would tell them the same thing: “Just get it done.”

“I don't want to blame either side,” Dimon said. “If I were the one walking into the negotiation, I would walk out with a deal even if I lost my points. I would not sit there and act like I have to win every single little provision.”

Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.

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