If They Don’t Reach a Deal I Will Be in a World of Pain

If They Don’t Reach a Deal I Will Be in a World of Pain

This is my stimulus update for Tuesday, October 20.

Before we get into Mnuchin and Pelosi let’s talk unused CARES Act money.  We know that the President at various times has expressed his desire to use unused CARES Act money for stimulus checks, for PPP, Larry Kudlow has hinted at the same thing.

We know that they probably need congressional approval to do so, in my September 5th update I showed you the clip where Trump hinted that he thinks there’s a theory out there that would let him use this money without congressional approval.

Don’t want to read? Watch the video here!

The Washington Post is reporting that White House officials — they didn’t say who — but that certain White House officials attempted to spend this money without congressional approval but were blocked by White House attorneys who said they couldn’t do so legally, so at this point.

They don’t say this, but come on, who would be behind trying to use this money right now, who would be trying to do this, or at least telling people to look into doing this?  Trump, Trump, this wouldn’t happen without Trump wanting to use this money.  So it appears that Trump has attempted to use the unused CARES Act money without congressional approval but was not able to do so, of course this isn’t something that he would probably want to publicize, and the Post’s sources here are obviously anonymous.

So on to stimulus negotiations between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  We know that according to Pelosi a deal has to be struck today between she and Mnuchin in order to get a stimulus bill passed before the election.

Yesterday they spoke on the phone for almost an hour.  Pelosi’s spokesperson said that in this call Mnuchin and Pelosi continued to “narrow their differences” and that Pelosi has instructed her committee chairs to reconcile differences between their bill and the Republican proposal with various staff members working around the clock.

Nancy believes that by the end of the day today, Tuesday, we will know whether or not an agreement will be reached such that a bill can be passed before the election.  Pelosi was talking to Joy Reid yesterday on MSNBC, and she described Republicans very differently than she has previously.  She described Republicans as finally, just in the past day, shown an indication that they are willing to, in Pelosi’s mind, address the COVID-19 crisis and crush the virus.

She and Mnuchin will speak again today and hopefully hammer out any remaining differences, it seems that at this point they agree on a top-line, which some are saying is in the 1.9-trillion-dollar range as of yesterday, if Mnuchin gives more ground to Pelosi, it could be even bigger than that if they even reach a deal.

Now, let’s say, best case scenario, not saying this is going to happen, I can’t predict this, but best case scenario, let’s say a deal is reached today.  How’s the Senate doing with that?

Well, no surprise, Republican senators are not thrilled about Mnuchin making a deal with Pelosi, we know that many in the G.O.P. senate are displeased with Mnuchin for, in their mind, caving too often to Democratic wishes.  The number two Republican Senator John Thune expressed yesterday that he thinks it will be difficult for enough Republicans to vote for a comprehensive stimulus bill in the neighborhood of 1.8 trillion dollars right now.

He said, “I think we’re going to have a hard time finding 13 votes for anything.”  Why thirteen votes?  Because there are currently 45 Democrats in the Senate and two Independents who typically vote with Democrats, so that’s 47 non-Republicans in the Senate, in the Senate you need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster and get a floor vote, so Thune is assuming that all 47 non-Republicans in the Senate would vote for this comprehensive bill, so he’s saying that you’d still need thirteen Republicans to go for it in that scenario, and he thinks that would be tough.  Trump said he would talk to John Thune about this.

In terms of the opinions of other G.O.P. senators, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin yesterday said that $1.8 trillion or more is “way too high,” and Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvaia said that legislation like this would divide Republicans.  We know that McConnell this week is putting up more targeted measures, a standalone PPP bill today and a new skinny bill to the tune of 500 billion dollars tomorrow, and it seems that Republican senators are more interested in these things than in a comprehensive stimulus bill the likes of which Mnuchin and Pelosi are negotiating.

Now, with this lack of, shall we say, vision in the Senate, here’s my concern, I think it’s tough for a deal to get done before Election Day, I think that’s fairly obvious at this point.

But here’s the deal.  If there is Republican support for a big bill in the Senate, a lot of it will come from Republican senators who are up for reelection right now in a tough race, they want to get something done because they want votes, they don’t want to lose their job.

But let’s say a bill isn’t passed before Election Day, those Republican senators get voted out, they’re lame duck for the next two months from November 3rd until January when the new Senate comes in.

It’s my fear that those lame duck Republican senators who got voted out won’t care any more about stimulus and will call all hopes of stimulus not only until after the election but until 2021, and that is just too long for too many people, look at the new lockdowns in Europe right now, it terrifies me to think what will happen to millions of Americans if we have something like that here, at least in some states and localities, without more help from the government through out the rest of 2020.

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