Wow, quite a few people on Twitter today are mad at Nancy Pelosi for supporting the short-term, bipartisan coronavirus stimulus package that the House and Senate moderated this week. But Nancy, you monster, they say you turned down the White House’s $ 1.8 trillion offer which included a new round of $ 1,200 checks and $ 400 a week in unemployment benefits! All because you’ve gotten too greedy and are now signing a proposal that’s half the amount, $ 300 a week of emergency unemployment, and no new round of direct payments. Thank you, you suck and the Democrats suck, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sucks too, for agreeing to be spokeswoman when Dems took the house back in 2018 and everything SUCKS.
Dear readers, before you accuse us of being neoliberal schills who carry water for the weak, terrible centrist Pelosi who sucks, let’s discuss this a little, and now we do too. There are a couple of points to keep in mind. So if you decide that we are neoliberal Schills carrying water for a weak, terrible centrist, these points should be kept in mind. Pelosi’s press rep is here today, too, in which she firmly refused to have foolishly refused a “better” deal before the election. Don’t freak out about the term; We announced it by the time the press actually started, almost an hour after the feed.
Let’s get a few things clear about this “offer” before the White House election, ‘kay?
It wasn’t a set plan yet
Recall how it all came about: Trump urged his negotiators, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, just days after he announced on Oct. 6 that there would be no more negotiations on a new negotiation until ” immediately after I won the election “when he would magically save the economy. Markets rebounded and suddenly he was interested in a deal, perhaps something bigger than the House Democrats’ $ 2.2 trillion package passed in September.
But there were big problems with what Mnuchin and Meadows suggested. The White House proposal had the check for $ 1,200 and reduced unemployment benefits, but lacked funds for buckled state, local, and tribal governments. (Surprisingly, red states need help too.) Pelosi also insisted on including a national COVID-19 testing plan (more on that in a moment). Worst of all, the White House insisted on a poison pill, Mitch McConnell’s near-complete immunity to companies whose negligence resulted in employees or customers contracting the virus. Read our article again about how awful this suggestion is, OK?
Mnuchin said he was open to the testing plan Pelosi wanted, but the draft he came back with was so watered down that it wasn’t a plan at all, as Pelosi explained on MSNBC on October 26:
About 10 days ago they finally said, “Okay, we’re going to follow the test plan. We’re just going to touch the language lightly.”
The light touch took out 55 percent of the language and changed “must” – we say you “should”, “the administration” should “do this […] – – [to] The administration “can” do this. “Requests” became “recommendations” and the like, so again the money would just be a slush fund for the president to do this or that instead of asking for it.
After telling Mnuchin he wouldn’t fly, Pelosi finally said, “Okay, we’re with you,” but he never came back with a revised design. Pelosi noted that the people who told her to just accept the White House deal were doing everything wrong because there was no White House deal: “People said, ‘Accept the deal.’ And I said, “What kind of deal? You didn’t agree to any of it.” “
Liability protection remained, even though the White House’s “offer” never got further than a vague outline.
Mitch McConnell killed the deal, which didn’t exist either
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was, is, and will only be interested in this liability shield. Every version of his $ 500 billion piddling non-starter deal includes him, other details are negotiable. While Mnuchin and Pelosi were negotiating, McConnell was already shooting down the outline they were discussing because far-right Republicans would never choose it – even though the immunity plan, if removed, would have been backed by Democrats and a small number of moderate Rs.
In mid-October, McConnell told reporters that everything Pelosi and Mnuchin worked out wasn’t a novice for him: “You’re right, we’re talking to the Treasury Secretary and the spokesman about a higher amount. […] I’m not going to put that on the floor. “
At the same time, Trump rejected McConnell’s speech from Budget Hawks, bragging that the Republican opposition to the $ 1.8 trillion idea would go away if he told them to adopt it, and maybe something even bigger because he did likes to make promises.
If Pelosi had given more ground, the White House’s “offer” would have become more tangible. But she did not leave the negotiations; Team Trump just stopped talking about incentives as the election approached.
This smaller package is a short-term plan, not the last word
Let’s be clear again: Nancy Pelosi didn’t “turn down” much and then accepted a much worse deal. There was no deal to turn down. Now that Joe Biden takes office, one of his top priorities will be a real, comprehensive stimulus package and test plan (as well as contact tracing and quarantine plan). Right now, however, the $ 908 billion plan is an attractive starting point for a short-term crisis that can quickly pass. There really are Republicans in both houses who say they will vote in favor, which has not been the case at all in previous negotiations. As a stopgap measure before Biden takes office, it provides unemployment benefits (not enough) and aid to states and cities as well as small businesses. Possibly cash payments could be added in further negotiations.
And perhaps most importantly, McConnell’s liability protection is not included. The previous structure calls for “short-term federal protection from coronavirus-related lawsuits with the aim of giving states time to develop their own response,” which would be temporary and, unlike McConnell’s liability shield, not yet written in legislative language is an opportunity to negotiate its final form, although we would of course prefer to take it out entirely. Here is the synopsis of the proposal’s content:
The most important thing is that we have a new president on the way, and he is serious about a comprehensive stimulus package. The deal currently on the table will bring far more relief than he expected before the elections, so Pelosi has the right to back it.
OK, NOW you can give us neoliberal shills, and we still have an open thread on the way.[CNBC / Forbes]
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