What If Republicans Win? (McConnell)

What If Republicans Win? (McConnell)

This is my stimulus update for Saturday, October 31.

Everybody in D.C. is talking about stimulus, aren’t they, but nothing’s getting done.  Trump is of course still using stimulus essentially as a campaign promise, here’s what he said.

And of course we have Pelosi maintaining her posturing that she wants a deal done, by hook or by crook, and that she wants a deal done soon, even in the lame duck session, of course she’s going to say that, what, is Pelosi gonna say, “Nope, nope, I don’t want a deal anymore, I don’t think a deal’s gonna get done until the new year.”  Of course she’s not going to say that.

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

Mitch McConnell, on the other hand, who as you know has developed a reputation for himself as someone who likes to drag his feet with stimulus, was talking to Hugh Hewitt yesterday, and Hugh asked him, OK, Mitch, what if everybody’s wrong, what if the media’s wrong, and what if Republicans take all on Tuesday?

And I see some of this in my own comments, well, what if Republicans take everything, well Mitch answered that question, I think there’s a very small chance of that happening, of Trump being reelected to a second term, and the G.O.P. retaining the Senate, and the G.O.P. flipping the House, I just don’t see that in the cards, but Hugh asked Mitch what if that happens, what if everybody’s wrong and what if that happens and G.O.P. takes all, here’s the clip.

Mitch said that if the G.O.P. sweeps, then they need to make a “careful, calculated decision” about what to do with coronavirus, he brings up the vaccine, and he brings up another modest stimulus package, at least more modest than what Nancy Pelosi wants, he set the date right at the beginning of the year, and he wants it targeted to struggling small businesses, hospitals, and schools.

So, what’s Mitch saying here?  Mitch is basically saying that he thinks that in this scenario, a Republican sweep, it’s basically pointless for the Senate to deal with relief legislation during the lame duck session.  He doesn’t think a split Congress like we have now, with Democrats controlling one house and Republicans controlling the other House, and especially a split Congress with a bunch of Democratic lame ducks in the House, can actually get stimulus done, he seems to think that one party in charge of both houses is what it will take to get stimulus done, because as we’ve seen for months, the Democratic agenda for stimulus and the Republican agenda for stimulus, at least right now, are just too far apart.  Yes, the nature of his question particularly had to do with what happens in a Republican sweep, but come on, do you think if the scenario pans out the other way with a bunch of Republican lame ducks that McConnell is going to be super motivated to push for stimulus the lame duck?

However, there is another position that some Republican senators are taking right now.  It’s that the recent stimulus talks have been far too partisan due to the looming election and that after the election, we’ll all be singing kumbayah and passing stimulus relief during the lame duck session.  Really?  Really?

Do these people think that partisan divide is really going to go away after the election?  The number two Republican in the Senate, John Thune of South Dakota, for example, is saying that he thinks we’ll do something during the lame duck.

And you have another Republican Senator, Shelley Moore Capito, saying that her committee has been focusing on putting together a coronavirus relief deal and that it would preferable to have a stimulus package done before the year-end spending bills are due. And then we have a senior Senate G.O.P. aide saying that Trump, if he loses, will be concerned about his historical legacy, implying that he will still be interested in a stimulus package.

This Republican aide claimed that a deal is likely in the lame-duck because Senate Republicans will be less worried about angering their base by agreeing to Democratic priorities, such as infusion of aid for state and local governments, and Democrats will be less motivated to deny Trump a legislative victory and credit for boosting the economy.  This individual said, “Pelosi and Schumer didn’t want to cut a deal before the election. After the election and after McConnell is reelected as leader there is more opportunity.

It’s not easy because of the way Pelosi is negotiating.  But if she’s open to a conversation about what is realistic and possible, then anything is possible.”  This is just partisan speak, it’s basically just saying, it’s all Pelosi’s fault that a deal didn’t get done before the election, but once the election goes away, Pelosi will come around to Republicans and everything will be hunky-dory.  And then you have a Democratic aide basically saying the exact opposite, that basically Pelosi wants one and it’s all Republicans’ fault that we don’t have one yet and that they don’t think there is a package, period, if Republicans lose.

This is all talk, right, saying this and saying that, and keep in mind that this piece from The Hill came out before the McConnell Hugh Hewitt interview that I told you about previously in this video and played the clip.  So some may take these statements from these anonymous lawmakers and aides and John Thune as a promising sign, but to me, it just makes the Senate Republicans look even more disjointed when you have the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, being glum as ever about stimulus, but then you have stuff like this kind of intimating the other way.  So unless McConnell changes his tune, I’m not getting too excited about lame duck stimulus relief, but I’d love to hear what you think.

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