Republicans are in disarray as Pelosi and Mnuchin inch closer to a deal

Republicans are in disarray as Pelosi and Mnuchin inch closer to a deal
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaks with members of the press Friday, March 13, 2020, outside of the West Wing of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Keegan Barber)

It's been 159 days since the House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act, and 21 days since the House passed their compromise $2.2 trillion bill, both of which Mitch McConnell has refused to take up. It is 12 days until the election and Senate Republicans "fume" about the fact that negotiations are still happening between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The problem apparently is that Mnuchin's efforts makes them look even worse than they already do on the crisis, since they are perfectly content to follow Mitch McConnell and block real relief in favor of symbolic, futile gestures. Here's at least one person in the administration actually taking the crisis seriously and acting when his boss says "go big." They are reportedly "growing increasingly frustrated" with Mnuchin because "he makes what they see as unacceptable compromises in his quest for a stimulus deal." For example, "reducing payments that Republicans wanted to go to farmers so that some of the money would go for food boxes instead, according to two people involved in the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the developments." How dare he try to keep people from going hungry in this pandemic!?!?! What kind of a Republican is he?!?!?!

A Republican aide willing to be quoted but not by name said "Fair to say the feeling is he's giving away the store. No one is surprised, but yes frustrated. The idea that our conference is going to go along with whatever bad deal he cuts with Pelosi is completely unrealistic." Meanwhile, four in ten families with children are having a hard time meeting household expenses. That makes for somewhere between 7 and 11 million children not getting enough food to eat. And they're worried about giving Pelosi a "win."

So here's Donald Trump, as Pelosi says, wanting this to happen. "The president wants a bill. The president wants a bill. And so that's part of the opportunity that we have," she said Thursday. Republicans are trying to stop a deal that Trump wants. They don't want to have to vote on it before the election and if a deal is reached, they won't have much choice because they'll look even worse if they don't.

They've already decided Trump is toast, and they want to make sure they're positioned to make life as hellish as possible for Joe Biden starting January 20, with an absolutely wrecked economy and their own deficit peacock credentials burnished. Senate Republicans are taking it all out on Mnuchin, but they are actively thwarting Trump's will, which is a pretty remarkable thing to be happening 12 days before an election when the White House and their majority is under serious threat. That's not her problem, says Pelosi. "I can't answer for the disarray on the other side," she said. "It's up to him [Trump] to deliver what can happen on the Senate side."

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