New G.O.P. Stimulus Bill to Be Introduced Today

New G.O.P. Stimulus Bill to Be Introduced Today

This is my stimulus update for Tuesday, September 8.

Mitch McConnell Comes Out Swinging

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came out swinging in a new statement about COVID relief stating that today Senate Republicans will be releasing their new stimulus bill focusing on healthcare, education, and economics.

He says that this bill “does not contain every idea our party likes” and that he is “confident Democrats will feel the same,” that is, it won’t contain every idea that Democrats like.  But he goes on to say that “Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand in the way of agreeing where we can agree and making law that helps our nation.”  McConnell said he will be seeking a vote on this bill as early as this week.

But that’s not all he said in this statement, he had some fighting words for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.  McConnell said, “Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer said a targeted deal on jobless benefits and the Paycheck Protection Program would be ‘piecemeal,’ but then Speaker Pelosi came rushing back to pass the most piecemeal bill imaginable: Postal Service legislation that completely ignored the health, economic, and education crises facing families. Everything Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer have done suggests one simple motivation: They do not want American families to see any more bipartisan aid before the polls close on President Trump’s re-election. They have taken Americans’ health, jobs, and schools hostage for perceived partisan gain.”

And he did not spare the rank-and-file Democrats either.  During the third week of August many of my stimulus updates involved telling you what average everyday Demoratic Congressmen and Congresswomen were saying about stimulus, that they would be fine with a smaller, targeted bill, many of them would prefer the HEROES Act, but if a smaller, targeted bill is what it takes to get something done now for their constituents, they would go for it, and they were basically pleading with Pelosi to move forward with some narrower relief bill than the three, $3.4 trillion-dollar HEROES Act.  Pelosi of course said, “No, let’s vote on the Post Office.”

And McConnell looked at them in his new statement, stating, “Last month, more than 100 House Democrats publicly asked Speaker Pelosi to stop stonewalling and let them vote on targeted COVID-19 relief. She ignored them, just like her piecemeal postal legislation ignored American families. I will make sure every Senate Democrat who has said they’d like to reach an agreement gets the opportunity to walk the walk.”

McConnell is essentially saying, “Alright, you Democrats who say you’d be open to a smaller bill.  Your own party’s not going to do it, but we are.  And here’s your chance to prove you meant what you said.  Will you go across party lines, will you do what your leaders, Pelosi and Schumer, do not want you to do because they do not want to lose negotiating leverage, and will you vote to advance this bill to a final vote, because remember, 60 votes are needed for cloture in the Senate, to end debate and move the bill to a final vote.

So McConnell’s coming out swinging, I don’t know if we, as in you and me, will see this bill today, McConnell said Republicans will introduce it today, but sometimes that means the public doesn’t see it for a day or two afterward, but who knows, maybe we will.

I imagine it will have at least more money for PPP, the liability protection that McConnell is a huge, huge fan of, probably money in there for COVID-19 testing and schools, but we haven’t seen it yet.  And of course the big question is will stimulus checks be in there.

Because it’s strange, like we’re hearing from Mnuchin, from Meadows, from the White House about stimulus checks, Meadows just mentioned them today on Fox Business.

Mark Meadows Optimistic About Stimulus

Mark Meadows was on Fox Business, and he said that he is more optimistic about a stimulus agreement being reached than he has been in a long time, here’s the clip or read below:

Maria Bartiromo: The Congress comes back this week, what can we expect from the Senate this week?

Mark Meadows: Well, I think the Senate is not only going to hit the ground running, but actually they’ve been working over the break when they were back home in their districts working as late as nine o’clock last night, I was on the phone with a couple of senators as well as Senate leadership to make sure that we put forth a bill coming out of the Senate that at least provides a foundation for getting an agreement. I can tell you that there’s more that we agree upon than what we disagree upon. And I think it’s time that we put politics aside pass the stimulus, actually allow it to come to the President’s desk. He’s not only encouraged us, but he’s daily, checking in to make sure that we’re staying engaged to hopefully get relief to the American people. When we look at at an enhanced unemployment. When we look at what we can do for schools, when we look at what we can do for those small business businesses and direct stimulus checks. I think there’s broad scale agreement on that. And right now, the thing that’s the stumbling block is aid to state and local governments. Again, if we can push back and say, “Let’s come together on what we agree upon”, it’ll provide a foundation for getting there.

Maria Bartiromo: So you do believe that we will see another stimulus package before the election?

Mark Meadows: I do. I’m not sure, obviously, but I do believe we’ll see that, only because I’ve had a number of conversations, probably a dozen sometimes a day, with different rank-and-file members. When you listen to them, they’re listening to their constituents. If we will just listen to the American people and meet those needs, like the President of the United States is doing. I think we get there and I’m more optimistic, perhaps today than I’ve been in a long time.

So Will Stimulus Checks Be in the Republicans’ New Bill?

So Meadows paints a picture of Senate Republicans working hard on their new bill, he said that Trump is daily checking in for status updates, and then he mentions four items — enhanced unemployment, schools, small businesses, and stimulus checks — and he said there is large-scale agreement on those, the big sticking point is state and local government as we know.

Now, I’m not optimistic that stimulus checks will be included in the Republicans’ new bill, but Meadows is saying that he’s been in touch with Senate Republicans.

He said he was on the phone with them last night about their new bill.  And then he brings up stimulus checks, is this a clue that contrary to everyone’s opinions stimulus checks will be included in this Republican bill?

Because remember, White House has been a big fan of stimulus checks, especially Trump and Mnuchin and to some degree Meadows, but Senate Republicans have not indicated that by and large they are open to another round, though Mitch McConnell has mentioned it before, but frankly if this new slash modified skinny bill is as low as $500 billion as some of speculated, I don’t think we’ll see stimulus checks in there, if it’s more than that, closer to $1 trillion, maybe, but if it’s anything like the previous draft “skinny” bill we saw, we might be looking at something closer to half a trillion unfortunately than a trillion, nevertheless Meadows juxtaposing his statement that he was talking to Senate Republicans putting the finishing touches on their new bill last night and then mentioning stimulus checks, that’s intriguing to the say the least.  It’s not a slam dunk, but it’s intriguing, that’s as far as I will say.

Now, later on in the interview Maria asks Mark whether he thinks we will see another stimulus package before the election.

He said he’s not sure but he thinks that we could see another stimulus packaged passed before Election Day.

Senate is obviously back in session today, House is back next week. It’s just the big fear is that election year politics might poison some of these good vibes, let me just put that delicately, of course we had Trump yesterday being quite vocal that he believes Democrats don’t want to do a deal due to the election.

Unemployment Update

Yesterday FEMA approved Kansas for the benefit, leaving only Nevada (which just submitted its application last Tuesday), Nebraska (which just submitted its application last Friday), and the District of Columbia (which said it would apply last week, though I haven’t yet seen any indication yet that it actually has applied, the deadline is this Thursday, but Nevada, Nebraska, and the District of Columbia are the only jurisdictions that have not yet been approved, other than of course South Dakota, which will not be applying according to the governor there.


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