Despite “real progress” being made to reach an agreement on the next stimulus bill, Democratic leaders still aren’t able to let go of their desire to bail out mismanaged state and local governments and close a deal.
Talking with CNBC earlier this week, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said that aid to state and local governments remains the largest hurdle to getting a deal done. However, he also said demands from Democrats for $1 trillion just aren’t “based on reality.”
Republicans are willing to add $150 billion in new funding to state and local governments. This will go on top of $150 billion that was part of earlier stimulus bills. GOP leaders believe this more than covers the estimated $275 billion loss in revenues due to the economic shutdown.
“As we look at the number of things that we actually agree to, and the amounts of money allocated to those areas, probably the biggest stumbling block that remains is the amount of money that would go to state and local help,” Meadows said.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appeared before Congress on Tuesday to discuss the status of the next coronavirus relief bill. Mnuchin wanted to “move forward on a bipartisan basis on points we can agree upon,” he said during his testimony. At one point, California Democrat Maxine Waters asked Secretary Mnuchin to call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Waters then restarts talks after he finished his testimony.
“Done,” he said. “I will call her right after the hearing.”
Mnuchin said he is “willing to sit down at the negotiating table with the speaker with no conditions whatsoever any time.”
However, Democrats have already made it clear that they won’t even be willing to approve the Republican’s “skinny” bill. This said bill only includes the items both sides can agree on.
The GOP is ready to put forth a roughly $500 billion proposal that addresses only the areas of bipartisan support: expanded unemployment insurance, small business loans, money for schools and Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. The plan does not include another direct payment to Americans.
Naturally, Pelosi tried to paint the Democrats as the victims.
“Sadly, this phone call made clear that Democrats and the White House continue to have serious differences understanding the gravity of the situation that America’s working families are facing.”
What is becoming evidently clear is that this isn’t about the Democrats getting bailout money for state and local governments. This is about holding the American public hostage as leverage in the November election. The longer the country goes without a relief bill, the more it hurts American families. Democrats have decided that they are willing to financially ruin American families if it means defeating Trump in November.