A lot of people were hoping that the election might break the logjam between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to giving Americans another round of COVID-19 stimulus checks and approving a broader stimulus relief plan.
Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but the recent rhetoric is not terribly promising. It didn’t take long for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, and Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, to be at odds again over the the plan’s price tag. Both sides have long said they support a second round of direct payments to Americans, but the checks have been folded into the much larger stimulus relief package. And on that Republicans and Democrats can’t agree.
That’s the case, it appears, even though the election is over; it didn’t change much when it comes to Congress. The House is still in Democratic hands, although Pelosi lost some seats (as many as 7 to 11), and it’s still in Senate hands, at least for now (two runoff elections in historically red Georgia could determine that for sure.)
Here’s what you need to know:
McConnell Says a Good Jobs Report Reduces the Rationale for a Larger Package
McConnell is citing a recent jobs report to argue for a smaller, more targeted package than Pelosi wants.
According to CNBC, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.9%.
“I think it reinforces the argument that I’ve been making for the last few months, that something smaller – rather than throwing another $3 trillion at this issue – is more appropriate,” McConnell told Reuters.
The sides have disagreed over such questions as aid to state and local governments as they battle the pandemic. Republicans have previously tried to pass a package worth $500 billion, whereas Pelosi is standing firm at about $2.2 trillion. McConnell has said he can’t get enough of his fellow Republicans to support the higher number.
Whichever president is in the White House isn’t going to change much because the U.S. Constitution gave funding authority to Congress, although the White House has been part of negotiations. Even if there’s a President Joe Biden agreeing with Pelosi, though, they still need to get it through McConnell, although, certainly, the president has a large bully pulpit. In addition, both sides need to worry about the impact on the Georgia run off elections.
Pelosi Said McConnell’s Approach Was Unappealing
Pelosi wasn’t in agreement, echoing the rhetorical divisions that existed in Congress before the election over a new stimulus plan.
“It doesn’t appeal to me at all, because they still have not agreed to crush the virus. If you don’t crush the virus, we’re still going to have to be dealing with the consequences of the virus,” Pelosi said during a news conference, according to Reuters.
“That isn’t anything that we should even be looking at. It wasn’t the right thing before,” she added.
According to the Wall Street Journal, because both parties appear to have won something in the presidential election, it’s decreasing their desire to compromise. Republicans see Pelosi with a thinner majority than before, so their stimulus stance didn’t hurt them, but Democrats won the White House, according to calls from some (President Trump is disputing them).