Pelosi put on the spot: White House to make $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief offer

Fox News reports that the White House is preparing to bring to the negotiating table its largest coronavirus stimulus package offer yet. Nancy Pelosi, the ball is in your court. 

The offer is expected to be $1.8 trillion, although specifics have yet to be released. Based on what has recently been said, though, one would expect, among other things, to see help for the struggling airline industry, some kind of expansion in unemployment benefits, and another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday.

What’s happening?

It is probably fair to say that the president confused some people this week with his handling of coronavirus relief negotiations.

It began when he suddenly announced that he was calling further negotiations off until after the election. Trump, instead, told Republicans in the Senate to focus on the confirmation process of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have been taking the my-way-or-nothing approach to these relief negotiations. Their latest offer is $2.2 trillion, which Republicans put more in the category of a wishlist. So, in some ways, it wasn’t that surprising that the president called off negotiations.

The art of the deal

The president’s next move, after calling negotiations off, was to expose the Democrats by putting out a tweet saying that he is more than willing to sign off on stand-alone relief measures, such as airline help and stimulus checks. Pelosi, though, wasn’t having it.

“It’s not going to happen,” she said. “Ain’t going to be no stand-alone bill unless there is a bigger bill, and it could be part of that or in addition to that.”

Now, we have the White House bringing a $1.8 trillion package to the table. But, the point of everything Trump did, was to bring a deal to the table under more favorable circumstances, and, he has succeeded.

Now, it is clear that Pelosi and the Democrats are the ones preventing further relief. So, the question becomes: “has Trump put enough pressure on Pelosi to force her to come down from the $2.2 trillion?”

Probably not

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn’t believe that a compromise will be reached before the election. He said:

I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity of the election and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage. I’d like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April, but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.

We think McConnell is probably right here. It seems that a while back Pelosi and the Democrats made the decision that, no matter what, they would not agree to another coronavirus relief package until after the general election, thinking that it will hurt Trump’s chances more than it will hurt theirs. We’ll have to see if America agrees.

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