Friday, December 18, 2020

Leverage Relinquished

As of this moment, 12:30 p.m. on November 18, it appears there will be a deal of some sort which would alleviate the economic effects, however minimally, of the pandemic because

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, privately made the case to Republicans on Wednesday for a stimulus deal that includes another round of direct payments to struggling Americans, suggesting that delivering such help could boost the party’s hopes of hanging onto their majority in the Senate.

In a call on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. McConnell said that Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are both facing January runoffs that will determine which party controls the Senate, were “getting hammered” for Congress’s failure to deliver more pandemic aid to struggling Americans — particularly the direct payments — and that enacting the measure could help them. The Kentucky Republican also emphasized that the package could be signed by President Trump, who has pushed for another round of stimulus checks, and would help those devastated by the pandemic.

In a nutshell:

It won't be great legislation, but were it such, congressional Republicans would want to part of it. However, Jentleson, Deputy Chief of Staff (ambivalent about the current proposal) to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, believes Democrats "voluntarily jumping down from the $1.8 baseline to $900B made it easy for McConnell to cut off this aid."

On Tuesday, Jentleson had explained the other reason an agreement of whatever value is likely to be reached:

This is how Democrats roll. While Republicans are intent on achieving philosophical aims through legislation, Democrats are intent on making a deal.  (Cable news is even more single-mindedly partial to deal for deal sake.)

Moreover, Republicans are determined to win- on the presidential level, but also on the congressional level, the state level, and, especially with the courts. Democrats balked at an inadequate package a couple of months ago, and so helped drag Joe Biden across the finish line. Now they're poised to approve a package, thus demonstrating that Congress is not paralyzed, which will seal victory for Kelly Loeffler and David "don't call me Frank" Perdue.  For Democrats, Donald Trump has been removed from office: mission accomplished.


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