Barring outstanding legal challenges from President Trump, the election is in the rearview. With this, some Congressional officials are pushing to reboot COVID-19 stimulus talks immediately.
Talks have been stalled for weeks, but the push to restart talks is gaining momentum. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In the letter, they were asking to resume negotiations on a potential bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on their Republican counterparts to come back to the table and cited the uptick in U.S. COVID-19 cases as cause to expedite Congressional efforts to reach an agreement.
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“It is essential that this bill have sufficient funding and delivers meaningful relief to the many Americans who are suffering,” the Democrat letter read. “For the sake of the country, we ask that you come to the table and work with us to produce an agreement that meets America’s needs in this critical time.”
Stimulus Talks Prior to the Election
Negotiations stalled just before the election, but many pundits wonder if the Democrats ever really wanted to make a deal. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the White House’s lead stimulus negotiator, was prepared to make a deal as large as $2 trillion. This comes strikingly close to the total called for in the Democrat’s house bill, but new differences continued to rise. Every time Republicans bridged a gap, Pelosi would change course and begin pushing another position.
Pelosi and the Democrats are pushing hard to secure several hundred billion dollars for local governments. It is an initiative that would undoubtedly favor a host of cities ran by Democrats; many of which were destroyed by riots which the local government allowed to pilfer and plunder with impunity.
Despite the obviously disingenuous nature of this position, the left continues to maintain they’re holding out to get the American people the support they need. In reality, they’ve been holding back support for months to cover budget shortfalls for their allies in liberal city governments across the country. The Democrats’ number one priority is fiscal aid for mismanaged local governments, not the American people. If it was really about the people, we would’ve had a stimulus bill passed months ago.
Senate Republicans are more interested in reopening the country than signing more checks. They thought the White House proposal was too generous. Even if Pelosi and the Democrats signed off on the deal, there was no guarantee the Senate would pass it.
The leading Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, is a well-known stimulus hawk who has called the Democrat proposals bloated on a number of occasions. With President Trump seemingly on his way out the door, McConnell will take over as lead negotiator in the stimulus talks. Additionally, the Senate Majority Leader is expected to drive a hard bargain.
On Tuesday, McConnell said he hasn’t discussed a new stimulus plan just yet. However, he added that he believes any deal should come closer to the $650 billion bill favored by Senate Republicans.
“I share the view of my colleagues that’s been expressed here that a more narrowly targeted proposal such as we laid out in September and October here in the Senate deals with the actual problem,” said McConnell.
Trump Continues to Voice Support
Meanwhile, President Trump, whose days in the White House could be numbered, is still voicing support for a large stimulus deal. Over the weekend, the president tweeted, “Congress must now do a Covid Relief Bill. Needs Democrats support. Make it big and focused. Get it done!”
Some Democrats are considering forcing stimulus concessions as part of the upcoming budget legislation. The current government-funding deal runs out after Dec. 11. Lawmakers could force spending legislation into the bill in order to push force stimulus measures onto a reluctant Republican Senate.
However, Georgia’s upcoming Senate run-off could change the game. Two Senate seats are up for grabs, but Republicans only need one to maintain their majority. If Democrats can flip both seats, they’ll control the House, Senate, and – assumedly – the White House. If that happens, you can bet your bottom dollar that Pelosi and Co. will raid the federal piggy bank for all its worth.