Stimulus deal unlikely until after the election

With fewer than two months until the election, the odds for a massive stimulus compromise intended to help bolster small businesses, provide additional unemp...

Posted: Sep 12, 2020 12:45 PM

With fewer than two months until the election, the odds for a massive stimulus compromise intended to help bolster small businesses, provide additional unemployment benefits and give more money to schools as they adapt amid the coronavirus pandemic have fallen practically to zero.

"Well, looking to the House and for that matter our colleagues across the aisle -- it's a sort of a dead end street, and very unfortunate, but it is what it is," Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas, told reporters.

This week not a single Democrat voted for the Republicans' scaled-back stimulus plan and no leadership-level negotiations between Republicans and Democrats ensued. Instead, Congress is turning its focus now to simply passing a short-term spending bill by the end of the month aimed at keeping the government funded and then heading home for the election.

Asked if the stimulus negotiations were officially dead, Sen. Dick Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, told reporters, "It looks that way."

"You never know around here. Sometimes things look bleak and they're revived, and so forth. We thought the scaled-down version was a good bill, a good timing and everything else. The Democrats obviously thought otherwise. That's all we can do, is tee it up and go with it," Shelby said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it this way: "I wish I could tell you we were going to get another package but it doesn't look that good right now."

While the September 30 government funding deadline could have become a catalyst for the stimulus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have already agreed that no stimulus package will be included as part of the "clean" short-term spending negotiations.

"Those negotiations are separate from this," Pelosi said during her weekly news conference on Thursday.

Behind the scenes, the California Democrat has encouraged her caucus to remain united even as pressure builds for members in tough reelection campaigns to go home with a deal.

"We don't want to go home without a bill, but don't be a cheap date. When you are in a negotiation, the last place to get weak knees is at the end," Pelosi told Democratic members on a private conference call Thursday.

For rank-and-file members, the lack of progress has settled into the new reality. Despite weeks of negotiations in July and early August, Democratic leaders and the White House never came to a consensus even on the scope and size of the package. Disagreements about how much funding to provide state and local governments, the amount of federal unemployment benefits and even additional funding for election assistance became key sticking points.

The result has become a blame game between Republicans and Democrats, who are reorienting toward election politics after just six months ago overwhelmingly passing the largest stimulus package in American history.

"The Republicans are underestimating the extent to which the CARES Act propped up the American economy," Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii told CNN last week. "There is nothing we can really do about it if they don't want to come to the table. But I do think they have been lulled into a false sense of security because of the decisive actions we took earlier. That amount of fiscal support is not going to be around in the fall."

Sen. Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota, argued that Democrats are avoiding a deal in an effort to win back the Senate and the White House.

"They benefit from not having a deal," Cramer said.

But the cost of inaction is still steep. Nearly 30 million Americans are receiving some kind of jobless benefit around the country, and many businesses whose initial Paycheck Protection Program loans allowed them to avoid layoffs have already run out of their first loans. Without another stimulus bill, those businesses won't be able to apply for another round of funds.

"I am worried about another round of layoffs as companies run out that money and, frankly, I think that is what some Democrats are counting on: bad economic news in October that helps them in November," said Senate Small Business Chairman Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican. "Now, I think rank-and-file members want to do something, but the congressional leadership is thinking about what helps them in November."

Still, some members say they haven't completely abandoned hope that something can still be done.

"I think there is still a chance," Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, told CNN. "I won't be optimistic on this if we get through the next two weeks without finishing it up."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 770246

Reported Deaths: 8661
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1537491923
Ramsey63444980
Dakota57071526
Anoka54052520
Washington33690331
Stearns28419253
St. Louis23735361
Scott21652160
Wright21388171
Olmsted18144120
Sherburne15515115
Carver1366556
Clay1025399
Rice9985131
Blue Earth966659
Crow Wing9518109
Chisago837263
Kandiyohi835197
Otter Tail8061105
Benton7477111
Beltrami658079
Mower645541
Douglas629190
Goodhue619985
Itasca618885
Winona611854
McLeod595770
Steele585825
Isanti573074
Morrison557767
Becker534862
Polk512879
Freeborn487642
Nobles481652
Lyon456356
Carlton446866
Nicollet434454
Pine428532
Cass425745
Mille Lacs416967
Brown411547
Todd400036
Le Sueur386332
Meeker356854
Waseca327331
Martin326336
Wabasha29538
Hubbard292744
Dodge273510
Roseau265227
Fillmore243812
Redwood240443
Wadena238429
Houston231117
Renville228549
Faribault220630
Pennington217227
Sibley211612
Cottonwood197128
Kanabec192230
Chippewa190340
Aitkin184043
Watonwan171112
Pope16148
Yellow Medicine157220
Rock155319
Jackson147315
Koochiching138619
Clearwater136618
Murray135011
Swift134619
Marshall134520
Pipestone133427
Stevens124911
Lake109521
Wilkin102814
Lac qui Parle98524
Mahnomen90312
Norman8789
Big Stone7974
Grant7869
Lincoln7845
Kittson61122
Red Lake5899
Unassigned538124
Traverse5165
Lake of the Woods4764
Cook2460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 474151

Reported Deaths: 6785
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk74657729
Linn29194394
Scott24733274
Black Hawk20335358
Woodbury19207244
Johnson17988100
Dubuque15834229
Pottawattamie14276200
Dallas14109108
Story1288551
Warren774296
Cerro Gordo6951110
Webster6950111
Clinton6929101
Des Moines667594
Marshall641885
Muscatine6352113
Wapello5936137
Jasper578279
Lee565689
Sioux565676
Marion508191
Buena Vista491746
Plymouth463487
Henry389847
Jones370861
Washington366856
Benton359257
Bremer357168
Boone350937
Carroll346353
Crawford339347
Mahaska322856
Dickinson301052
Clay279133
Buchanan279039
Jackson273546
Kossuth271873
Hardin270249
Tama264976
Fayette260649
Delaware258546
Cedar249526
Page249328
Wright243645
Hamilton233954
Winneshiek233338
Floyd221845
Harrison217777
Madison216925
Clayton214558
Poweshiek211741
Iowa208029
Butler206638
Cass201557
Jefferson201040
Mills199929
Allamakee194753
Cherokee193844
Lyon192941
Hancock187639
Winnebago186633
Calhoun186116
Appanoose180850
Shelby178439
Louisa171052
Grundy168537
Humboldt167727
Emmet167146
Franklin164628
Mitchell164043
Union162637
Chickasaw159318
Sac157924
Guthrie155434
Montgomery142342
Palo Alto142032
Clarke141328
Keokuk139635
Monroe134335
Howard128222
Ida118641
Greene116315
Davis115225
Lucas113724
Pocahontas111423
Monona108738
Worth10818
Adair105335
Osceola94017
Fremont86111
Van Buren84221
Decatur82612
Taylor79713
Wayne74824
Ringgold67727
Audubon66814
Adams5095
Unassigned380
Rochester
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