One of the nation’s most powerful bankers lashed out at Congress on Wednesday (Nov. 18) over the stalled coronavirus relief package, chiding lawmakers for “childish behavior” that has prevented them from brokering a deal.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon urged federal lawmakers to stop battling over the size of the next pandemic rescue package, despite sizeable dollar differences in the competing plans championed by Democrats and Republicans.
While U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently suggested he may be open to a $500 billion package, House Democrats have lobbied for a bill in the $2 trillion range, or four times that, arguing for more expansive measures to help financially beleaguered state and local governments.
But Dimon, in remarks at The New York Times’ DealBook conference, argued that the time has come to get a bill passed, as opposed to holding out for a preferred dollar figure.
“I know now we have this big debate. Is it $2.2 trillion, $1.5 trillion?” Dimon said at the conference, according to CNBC.
“You gotta be kidding me,” Dimon told Andrew Ross Sorkin, the cable news network reported. “I mean, just split the baby and move on. This is childish behavior on the part of our politicians.”
Dimon also noted that the brunt of the coronavirus-driven downturn is being felt by workers at the bottom 20 percent of the income scale, a group that has largely burned through the money received from the first stimulus package in the spring.
“There is a big part of our country that is really struggling … that is what we should be focusing on,” Dimon said, according to CNBC. “It has zero to do with Democrats and Republicans.”
In the view of the J.P. Morgan Chase bank chief, any stimulus package Congress passes should be designed to tide over the country’s economy until mid-2021, when new coronavirus vaccines may finally become available to the wider public.
“Thank God we have these two vaccines coming, thank God,” Dimon said. “Now is the time to not act like it’s over, let’s double down and get through COVID the best we can.”