Stimulus or relief bill woes got you down? Well, it doesn’t look like there will be a peaceful resolution anytime soon as the two sides of the aisle continue to debate and refuse, holding the American people hostage as politics over citizens once again rears its ugly head. As has been the usual trend lately, the Democrats have worked extra hard to hold up, delay, and demand more before allowing any help to reach the people. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) even states that all this blocking has been a strategy and now that a Democrat will be in office (her words, not ours), it’s time to pass the bill.
Congress met again on Wednesday, Dec. 9, to try and come to some kind of agreement before the members take leave for the holidays and close out the end of 2020. With only about a week left in session, they are still no closer to a relief package than last week – or even months ago. The White House sent a $916 billion stimulus package suggestion on Dec. 8, proposed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, which included a $600 stimulus check for individuals while also cutting some jobless benefits. This was the first substantial proposal from the Trump administration since the presidential election.
Mnuchin’s proposal does not include the $300 weekly unemployment benefits, but it does offer to extend some of the federal unemployment programs that will be expiring soon. It also halves the direct one-time payment to individuals and families. The treasury security also pointed out assistance for schools, hospitals, liability protections for businesses, and providing funds for state and local governments. To accomplish this, he said in a statement that the intent was to offset the package cost partially by repurposing $429 billion from previous legislation as well as using unspent funds from a federal program for small businesses that has already lapsed. The proposal also included renewing the Paycheck Protection Program and small-business loans as well as providing funding for vaccine distribution.
True to her never-Trump policies, Pelosi argued with the proposed stimulus package, saying, “The president’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan congressional talks that are underway.”
The idea for Democrats, it seems, it to put off until the new year, when Joe Biden is presumed to take over the Oval Office. For Republicans, at least in the case of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), perhaps the goal is to get as much passed as possible to get relief started then hammer out the harder issues that they are having troubles agreeing on. “We know the new administration is going to be asking for another package,” he said earlier in the week. “What I recommend is we set aside liability and set aside state and local, and pass those things that we agree on, knowing full well we’ll be back at this after the first of the year.”
Pelosi, who has refused to consider any package less than a $2 trillion deal, suddenly is working with McConnell on an agreement less than half of what she had been stubbornly holding onto. Could it in fact be because she absolutely will not aid the country if it means giving any credit to President Donald Trump? Her remarks this past week would seem to suggest so.
On Friday, Dec. 4, CNN correspondent Manu Raju asked the house speaker why she is suddenly willing to work with McConnel on a $900 billion package after she had refused all summer to accept anything less than a $2 trillion deal. Raju asked if she felt it had been a mistake to remain so stubborn, especially since so many House seats were lost on Election Day. After getting irritated with the reporter for even suggesting she’d made a mistake, she then said it was a “strategy.” She continued, “It was not a mistake, it was a decision that has taken us to a place where we can do the right thing without other, shall we say, considerations in the legislation that we don’t want.”
But once again the gourmet ice cream-eating, salon-visiting Democrat switched gears and decided not to work on a deal since the White House contributed to the talks. During the meeting on Dec. 9, she backed down on her agreement to work with the $900 billion relief package after she admitted to purposefully blocking COVID funding and any idea of agreeing to a smaller bill would not be approved until Biden was in office, which angered McConnell, who then called her “schizophrenic.”
McConnel talked about numerous past efforts that were blocked by the Democrats, and then the Republican really laid into Pelosi:
“And just yesterday [Dec. 9], the Speaker and the Democratic Leader brushed off two different overtures in the space of about two hours! I suggested that both sides drop what seem to be the most controversial demand in the eyes of our counterparts. Democrats continue to oppose common-sense legal protections that university presidents have been begging for and Republicans see no need to send huge sums of money to state and local governments whose tax revenues have actually gone up.
Negotiating 101 suggests we set those two controversial pieces aside and plow ahead with the huge pile of things that we agree on. But that would require both sides to truly want an outcome. Just hours after Democrats poured cold water on that, Secretary Mnuchin tried another new tack, and sent over an offer. In a bizarre and schizophrenic press release, the Speaker and the Leader said the Administration was ‘obstruct[ing]’ negotiations … by negotiating.”
Apparently, negotiating is only acceptable if the Trump administration isn’t involved.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.