This is my stimulus update for Monday, August 17.
Mark Meadows on Stimulus Yesterday
Yesterday I told you about how Mark Meadows, perhaps the most obstinate stimulus negotiator, had a meeting with the House of Representatives’ Problem Solvers Caucus about the next stimulus relief bill.
Well, Meadows was on CNN yesterday, and here’s what he said: “Let’s go ahead and get a stimulus check out to Americans. Let’s make sure that small businesses are protected with an extended [Paycheck Protection] Program and put the postal funding in there. We’ll pass it tomorrow. The president will sign it.”
Of course, just because Meadows voices support for stimulus checks or because Trump really wants to send out stimulus checks doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen. They need Congress, both houses of Congress, to get this done.
And look at what Meadows said: stimulus check, PPP, and postal funding.
House Returning Early?
We know of course that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has rejected such a piecemeal approach.
Now, I told you about Pelosi’s Dear Colleague Letter from a couple days ago about the next stimulus bill, well Pelosi wrote another Dear Colleague Letter yesterday, and in this letter Pelosi called on the House to return this week, rather than on September 14, to discuss a bill, the Delivering for America Act, that says that the Post Office is not allowed to make any operational changes to the what existed on January 1 of this year, the situation of course being that some Democrats believe that Trump’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, has made tweaks at the post office to, according to the letter, “degrade postal service, delay the mail, and … threaten to deny the ability of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming elections in a timely fashion.”
Now, the House of Representatives coming back into session is not in and of itself big stimulus news, but if the Senate comes back in session as well to discuss this post office drama, now if both houses of Congress were back in session earlier than expected, we could see — potentially — more pressure on the stimulus negotiators to resume their talks and get something done.
That is an optimistic view, I get it, but it’s a slim possibility at this point.
Because think of it. What do Democrats clearly want right now? What does Pelosi view as so important that she is calling on her colleagues to come back to D.C. in the middle of a recess to vote on? This post office bill, this Delivering for America Act. She views the post office as essential.
And just like with any bill, it would have to be approved by both houses of Congress, the House and the Senate.
A Stimulus Negotiation Idea
So what if Republicans are willing to give Democrats this post office bill in tandem with a bit of piecemeal stimulus legislation such as what Mark Meadows was talking about on CNN yesterday? Stimulus checks for the people, PPP for small businesses, and what was that third thing Meadows said? Post Office funding.
We know that the bill Pelosi is talking about is not a Post Office funding bill, but we know she is after that too. After all, she did put $25 billion to the Post Office in the HEROES Act.
Of course we’d have to get Trump to sign off on this too which may be an entirely separate issue, but think of it. How would you feel about such a bill? Only thing in it is stimulus checks just like the CARES Act except now adult dependents qualify for the $500, PPP round two for small businesses, and post office legislation?
And then maybe leave state and local funding, which we know Democrats really want, negotiated separately and perhaps contingent on liability protection that McConnell wants, and McConnell himself said a few months back that he would be open to more funding for state and local governments if it is contingent on that liability protection.
That of course leaves other issues on the table as well, such as unemployment, school funding, and more.
Of course, for this to happen, Pelosi would have to back peddle with her strong statement that she would not be open to a piecemeal approach to the next stimulus legislation.
But hopefully if stimulus talks do resume soon, the heated emotions that were very apparent among all negotiators, and particularly Mark Meadows, in the failed two weeks of stimulus negotiations would have hopefully subsided and perhaps both sides would have become more willing to compromise on stimulus-related issues.
Because just think of how frustrated you would be, all of Americans’ voters would be, if a deal didn’t get done. Tomorrow we will be only 11 weeks away from the 2020 election with many voters having had made up their mind weeks before that.
I think if a lot of folks in D.C. want to keep their jobs, they need to get something done.