Go to hell. That’s what should be said to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chucky Schumer. Congressional Democrats have always dragged their feet on coronavirus relief. It’s never been a smooth process. Democrats delay, delay, and delay and then agree to pass virtually what Republicans had proposed in the first place. We all know this game, except it’s an election year—and Election Day is rapidly approaching. The Democratic Party is beholden to a base where working with Trump on anything is verboten. It could be for AIDS research and Democrats who would back that hypothetical initiative would probably find themselves being primaried.
Pelosi doesn’t want a deal. Chuck doesn’t want one either. They don’t care about American workers. They don’t care about the American people. They want the Senate and the White House back, and if millions of Americans suffer economically, so be it. That explains the gridlock over the latest round of relief. Politics does make for strange bedfellows, as moderate Democrats appear to be supportive and praising the Trump White House during these talks, the same folks who voted to impeach President Trump earlier this year, as noted by The Washington Post. Yes, alas, a decent piece by this publication. For Chucky, well, a new deal could help Mitch McConnell keep the Senate in Republican hands. Overall, a new deal would mean a victory for the Trump White House less than 50 days from Election Day that will impact millions of voters. Democrats cannot allow that (via WaPo) [emphasis mine]:
House Democrats were starting to squirm this week, fretting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s risky gamble in economic relief talks would backfire and they would go into the November elections without any new stimulus package.
But President Trump scrambled that calculus Wednesday when he cast aside the Republican negotiation position and told his party to embrace a much larger spending bill, including stimulus checks, to give Americans more money. In short, he moved closer to Pelosi’s position after a month-long showdown.
Now the California Democrat faces a crucial decision: Does she try to negotiate an agreement with a White House that suddenly seems ready to deal or continue to hold her ground and make Trump, facing his own election woes, swallow the sweeping $2.2 trillion bill she has long demanded?
Holding her ground with Trump may be the easy part. It also means facing down an insurrection from the very members she has long tried hardest to protect, the swing-seat Democrats whose victories in GOP-leaning districts returned Democrats to the House majority last year.
These centrist Democrats, fearful of constituent blowback, are pushing Pelosi to return to the negotiating table and strike a deal with Trump on an expansive relief package — even if she can’t get the $2.2 trillion she wants. Congress has already approved roughly $3 trillion in emergency spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and Pelosi has called for much more.
There’s a palpable fear among Democrats that voters will blame them on Election Day should they appear to be putting their own reelections ahead of what’s good for Americans.
We should have that same level of urgency that we had when we were dealing with this in March and April,” said Rep. Andy Kim, who flipped a GOP district in New Jersey last election. “And I don’t really get that sense that that type of just timeliness and that urgency is underlying what everybody here is feeling right now.”
The infighting has created an odd situation whereby Pelosi’s centrist members have applauded the position of a president they voted to impeach just months ago. Some of these moderates offered kudos for Trump on Wednesday after he praised a $1.5 trillion bipartisan coronavirus deal put forward by the Problem Solvers Caucus — a group of 50 pragmatic-minded Republicans and Democrats in the House — and tweeted that his own party should consider “much higher numbers,” signaling his openness to a deal.
Privately, some House Democrats eager to return home in early October with something concrete in hand have echoed GOP speculation that Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) don’t want to negotiate because a deal could help McConnell (R-Ky.) keep the Senate, giving his vulnerable GOP members cover in tough reelections.
Pelosi, for her part, flatly denies that politics has anything to do with her negotiating tactics.
Everyone saying the Senate should pass the House bill from May is showing they don't follow any of this very closely.— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) September 18, 2020
Even Democrats attacked that bill as an absurd political messaging bill, and "Washington as its worst." pic.twitter.com/33JFssqCTK
Another absurd part of Pelosi's May bill? $1T for state and local governments, when they hadn't spent even 25% of the money that was sent in April.— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) September 18, 2020
Even now, Pelosi is saying no more money for schools and vaccines without it.
She doesn't want a bill.https://t.co/OOgjXu28qg
Yeah, sure Nancy. In August, PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff pressed Pelosi on her talking points about the negotiations, which led to a meltdown. Woodruff aptly noted that not all the allocated money from the last stimulus bill had been spent, that the GOP was showing a willingness to be flexible on new spending for this bill, that unemployment benefits were extended, and that there were funds appropriated for schools and food programs. Pelosi went nuts—and we see now see why.
In the meantime, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) was all talk and no action regarding this new bill. The Post noted that her constituents tell her about the status of the bill. When she ventured onto CNN today, she vowed not to go home and stay in DC until an agreement was hashed out. Less than an hour later, she was spotted at Reagan National Airport.
.@RepSlotkin told CNN she wasn’t going home from DC without a deal on COVID relief.— Congressional Leadership Fund (@CLFSuperPAC) September 18, 2020
Less than 40 minutes later, @ElissaSlotkin was at the DCA airport where she refused to answer why she was headed home without a deal.https://t.co/EhjELMpMBl
WATCH ? pic.twitter.com/Sq6zZjAnZi