October 19, 2020

The coverage on the stimulus negotiations is so predictable. "Both sides," "Congress is broken," etc. Let's look at what Speaker Pelosi is actually dealing with. She won't come out and say it, but the Republicans basically want to turn the stimulus spending into a discretionary pre-election slush fund. Via CNN:

Pelosi spoke this weekend about how the testing language came back with the administration replacing Democratic proposals that said money "shall" be spent in a specific way, with money "may" be spent in a specific way. That, on its face, may seem trivial. But it's an enormous difference in practical terms -- one that isn't acceptable for Democrats.

Now, given the sheer scale of the possible legislation being considered and drafted right now, and you get a sense of just how much work needs to be done to lock in an actual agreement that can be voted on by lawmakers.

From Eric Boehlert's PressRun:

The GOP is complete disarray over Covid relief. Yet the press keeps portraying the story as a showdown between Democrats and Republicans. That's a false premise. Democrats have no negotiating partner on the other side because the GOP and the White House can't agree on what they want regarding Covid relief. One day Trump tweets that he's walking away from any deal. The next day he's demanding Congress "go big" and pass a $1.8 trillion dollar package.

How does Pelosi negotiate knowing Republican senators don't support the White House plan, and that the White House plan changes by the day depending on the manic Twitter moods of Trump?

That's not how legislation gets passed, especially not during a public health crisis. And that's why the latest, crucial Covid relief bill has not been passed — because Republicans don’t want it to.

And the reason Republicans don't want it to pass is, they want to make things as bad as possible for an incoming Biden administration. Party over country, always!

Pelosi has said if there is not agreement by the end of Tuesday, they won't be able to get a bill passed before the election:

Pelosi's office told CNN Sunday that the 48 hours refers to the end of the day on Tuesday and that they need answers to key outstanding questions by then or they won't be able to get a bill passed before the election. Negotiations would still continue after Tuesday if a deal isn't reached, but it wouldn't get done in time before Election Day.

The California Democrat also said during the interview with ABC the White House has watered down language Democrats have been pushing to create a national plan for Covid-19 testing and contact tracing. She also noted that the Trump administration had changed much of the language on testing and tracing after the two sides seemingly came to an agreement last week.

"They took out 55% of the language that we had there for testing and tracing," Pelosi said, and noted that they are "seeking clarity" on the details of the language.

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