WASHINGTON – A pivotal week on Capitol Hill that began with a rocky Republican rollout of the coronovirus relief package ended with a complete breakdown in negotiations, threatening to deepen the threats to the already emerged Donald Trump.
The Republican-led Senate adjourned Thursday for the long weekend with no action on COVID-19 relief, but to ensure the $ 600 weekly federal unemployment benefit expires on Friday.
Payments have been a financial lifeline for more than 20 million working Americans. The US recorded its worst quarterly economic contraction on Thursday – during a week when national deaths from the virus rose above 150,000.
It was a precarious situation for Trump, who has scored low in surveys to deal with his crisis that has devastated Americans – and is about to get worse for many of them. The recent slide saw him overtake Democrat Joe Biden by more than 8 points in the national average of five elections.
“When there are mistakes in government policy, voters blame the president,” Jack Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, said in an email. “The classic case is Herbert Hoover and the Depression. Carter and Bush 41 lost their recurrence bids due to the economic downturn that were far less severe.”
“In this case, the problems are unusually serious and the president’s responsibility is unusually clear,” he said. “Message to GOP from top to bottom: Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
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The Democratic-led House passed a $ 3.4 trillion bill in May that would expand the $ 600 weekly benefit through January. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., twice on Thursday sought to force a Senate vote on the bill, but he was blocked by Republicans who say the bonus is a disinfectant to work with and Should be reduced.
Republicans on Thursday sought to vote on a proposal to give 66 percent of their lost wages or benefits of $ 200 per week. Schumer blocked it as inadequate. When Sen. Martha McSally, R-Arries., Asked for a one-week extension of the current policy, Schumer called the request a “stunt” that “cannot be implemented in time,” and passed the House Senate. Called – opposed to heart acts.
A Republican strategist, David Koechle, accused Schumer of refusing to compromise with an intention to harm the GOP in the election on November 3, when Democrats hope to capture the White House and Senate.
“Schumer is the villain here,” Kochal said. “He is undermining the confidence of the American people in Washington and Congress. He is doing more harm than chance for President Trump’s re-election.”
Democrats said Republicans were about to cause political harm to the leader of their own party. “Being largely silly and incredibly cruel, Republicans are making a big political error,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. “Controlling COVIDs and maintaining their hold on power is the best way to save the economy, yet they are inciting corporations to help and make people work in their own interests.”
‘We are in a deadlock’
A series of bipartisan talks this week made no progress.
“Right now, we are in a deadlock,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Chair of the appropriation committee, told NBC News Thursday to leave the Capitol.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. As put it: “Progress is not exactly what we are doing right now.”
As Republicans accuse Democrats of refusing to negotiate in good faith, Democrats say Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The proposal by, is an unethical one because it lacks the support of many Republicans.
“Our allies on the other side are tied in a knot,” Schumer said on Thursday. “On the other hand our allies cannot come to a compromise on anything.”
Central to the breakdown are Republican divisions escalated by a businessman Trump, who on many occasions underestimated party leaders.
McConnell on Monday unveiled a $ 1 trillion package that meets immunity from some senators and was declared “semi-irrelevant” by Trump the next day. McConnell was forced to denounce a piece of his own plan, which he was initially unaware of, on Monday at Trump’s request to spend $ 1.75 billion on a new FBI building.
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On Wednesday, Trump made a short-term extension of jobless aid, which received little support from Republican senators. He added to the chaos by claiming that the paid Democrats he supported were not “very high”, even as GOP senators said they were too high.
Underlining his difficult negotiating position, McConnell said on “PBS NewsHour” on Wednesday that about 20 Republican senators believe Congress has “done enough” and don’t want to spend more money.
‘Can not communicate with a ghost’
By Thursday, as the senators were planning to leave for the weekend, McConnell resorted to pushing an empty “shell” bill to halt the debate process.
“This makes it a pending business for the next week, and we can talk and hopefully make progress, because no progress is being made anywhere else,” he said.
McConnell, whose job is on the line this fall, passed Treasury Secretary Steven Menuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to negotiate with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N. Have done Y The four met several times this week without any explicit agreement.
A senior Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations said that Pelosi and Schumer cannot figure out a coherent Republican position or figure out who is in charge.
“You can’t interact with a ghost,” the aide said.
“Does Meadows Speak for Trump? Does Mnuchin Speak for Trump? Does Meadows Speak for Mechuin?” Said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “You don’t even know what McConnell thinks, because he doesn’t have the support of his convention.”
R-Texas fighter John Cornyn argued that both sides would be blamed for inaction: “People would call a smallpox all their homes.”
And Meadows said that the president is “on the people’s side” and will be rewarded for it.
“I think if you look at it and you start focusing on politics instead of people, you’re doing the wrong thing,” Meadows told reporters on Thursday during a visit to Capitol Hill. “When you’re in favor of people who eventually vote, take care of yourself in November or whenever it may be.”