Have Republicans Abandoned a Second Stimulus Check?

This is my stimulus update for Sunday, August 23.

Stimulus Polls

First of all, let’s go over the results of yesterday’s poll, in which I asked you all to let me know which stimulus clickbait word you find the most annoying, and it looks like “FINALLY!” takes the cake with 59% of the vote, followed by “GOOD NEWS!” with 22% of the vote, with “BREAKING!”, “JUST IN!”, and “YES!” a distant third, fourth, and fifth respectively.  Thank you all who voted in yesterday’s poll.

And I do have another poll on the channel, I would like to know, other than stimulus checks, what you believe to be the most important item on the table for Congress to deliver for the American people, is it unemployment, is it funding for schools to reopen safely, is it funding to defeat COVID-19, is it an eviction and foreclosure moratorium, or is it hazard pay for essential workers?

Yes, I know that there are more items than these on the table, from PPP to state and local funding to student loan relief, but YouTube polls have a limit of five choices, so let me know what you think in the new poll in the community tab, and I will let you all know the results tomorrow.

Post Office Bill

Now, as expected, yesterday the House of Representatives passed the Post Office bill, 257 to 150, that would provide an additional $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service as well as prevent operational changes being made at the Post Office, with of course the Democratic concern being that Trump’s new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is meddling with Post Office affairs in order to prevent mail-in voting for this year’s presidential election.  Republicans of course dismiss this notion as a leftist conspiracy theory.

Now, just so you’re aware, some video creators are annoyingly referring to this Post Office bill as a new “stimulus” bill, which is incredibly misleading because there’s nothing in the bill for the people, it’s literally money for the Post Office, and to call it a stimulus bill is ridiculous and frankly a ploy to simply get more clicks and views because lots of people are interested in a new stimulus bill, relatively few people are interested in the Post Office bill, though it is of course peripherally relevant to stimulus discussions.

Nor is the passage of this Postal Service bill particularly exciting because Mitch McConnell has already stated that he will not entertain a standalone Post Office bill on the Senate floor.

And President Trump tweeted yesterday concerning the bill, “Representatives of the Post Office have repeatedly stated that they DO NOT NEED MONEY, and will not make changes. This is all another HOAX by the Democrats to give 25 Billion unneeded dollars for political purposes, without talking about the Universal Mail-In Ballot Scam that they are trying to pull off in violation of everything that our Country stands for.”

Mark Meadows and Stimulus Checks

Now, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was on Capitol Hill yesterday speaking to members of Congress, and reportedly he attempted to speak with Nancy Pelosi herself about stimulus.  However, Pelosi was not available to meet with him because she was in a meeting.

Meadows did speak to the press yesterday about the stalled stimulus negotiations, and he rattled off a list of things that he thinks and hopes that Democrats and Republicans can come to terms about in a skinny stimulus bill.

Here’s the clip or read the transcript below:

Mark Meadows: Democrats, the vast majority of Democrats And Republicans agree that we can do something to extend the PPP program that’s been so successful for small businesses and actually reach in and handle that, we can actually put some money aside to handle those underserved communities that perhaps are in communities that felt like they got left out in the first time, we agree on that. We can actually come up with a number that I believe that postal workers and Republicans and Democrats could agree would fix the postal system. I even think that we can come up with an agreement on stimulus checks to Americans and enhance unemployment. Those issues are not as divisive as we might think. And then lastly, I think there’s a real willingness to, to help with our kids, whether it be with schools and the funding for schools, or the funding for daycare in this unprecedented time. And so we’ve made great progress on all of those areas. So, and yet the talks continue to be stalled over a number that continues to get articulated by Democrats here in Congress, that really, they don’t have a basis in terms of, of what supports those numbers.

So as I went over yesterday, we’ve now seen the text of that skinny Republican bill, at least a draft version, and of course there’s no mention of stimulus checks in them, which is concerning, but Meadows did mention stimulus checks yesterday to the press, he rattled off his list of items he thinks Democrats and Republicans can agree on, which was PPP especially for underserved communities, Post Office funding, stimulus checks, unemployment, and school and childcare funding.

Are Republicans Abandoning a Second Stimulus Check?

So I’ve seen reports of course asking, are Republicans abandoning a second stimulus check?

But then we have Meadows here bringing them up again, of course Meadows is not in the Senate, is not in the House, he used to be in the House, but Meadows is obviously a White House guy, he’s not in Congress, but he’s been talking to McConnell and the rest of them, that’s how it works.

So I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Republicans have abandoned the notion of a second stimulus check, especially since prominent members of the party like Trump himself, Mnuchin, we have Meadows here, talking up stimulus checks.

But again, is this all just talk and rhetoric at this point?  Yes, it’s just talk.

But I don’t think that Mark Meadows would be up on Capitol Hill on a Saturday if the White House didn’t think that a stimulus deal was still possible.

The Democratic Response

However, as I told you last week, Pelosi has consistently rejected these sorts of calls for “skinny” or piecemeal stimulus bills both from Republicans like Mark Meadows as well as from members of her own House Democratic caucus.

And yesterday, Pelosi continued her tune, referring to Meadows’ as “what’s-his-name” and how he hasn’t said anything about evictions or state and local or crushing the virus.

Meanwhile, more House Democrats yesterday expressed their frustration at a lack of compromise for a stimulus bill, with Democratic Representative Susan Wild of Pennsylvania stating, “Personally, I feel frustrated; I know there’s a lot of frustration among the freshmen class, a lot of us would like to see something done.  The timing is awful because of course we’re heading into full-blown election season.”

Democratic Representative Tom Malinowski said, “I’d be all for putting a bill on the table that demonstrates our ability to reach that compromise.”

And Democratic Representative Joe Cunningham of South Carolina said, “It’s been frustrating for me to watch this unfold as it has.  I would encourage everyone to remain at the negotiating table, (and) hammer out a deal recognizing that not everyone is going to get everything they want. Do not let perfect be the enemy of good.”

Not Everyone Is Going to Get What They Want

I think that last bit is so, so important.  “Hammer out a deal recognizing that not everyone is going to get everything they want.”

That’s part of being a grown-up, right? Lots of people are saying Congress acts like children sometimes and I agree.

Republicans, you might not get as stern or as lengthy liability protections as you want, and guess what?  Maybe you’ll have to throw in another half a trillion to reach compromise. And Democrats, you might not get almost a trillion in state and local funding.

There has to be some kind of compromise here, but I think the difficult thing here is that both sides have kind of backed themselves into corners with their own words, whether Mnuchin calling $2 trillion “absurd” or Pelosi being so firm about not entertaining piecemeal stimulus bills, and now it’s come to this.

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