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It’s the economy, stupid





The economic recovery depends on a healthy nation, and getting the Coronavirus under control, which at this juncture seems like a far off notion unfortunately given the lack of leadership, and lack of adherence to wearing masks, keeping distanced etc. The one specific deadline which Congress should be especially wary of would be the umemployment relief - with R’s offering to do a week’s patch for unemployment benefits and Dems saying no, we won’t work piecemeal.

The bigger picture, beyond the nation stricken with the rising numbers of Covid-10 is of course is huge unemployment now with the Senate now negotiating at the 11th hour over umemployment benefits, the $600 addition to them, liability issues for companies and institutions, how much to spend towards testing, tracing etc and a way back.

Congress is now in recess officially with a few leaders negotiating now for a final bill.
Read where they are…some happy talk, with some read blockades towards resolving it.

Washington (CNN)The US economy, plagued by a resurgent pandemic, is showing signs of sliding backwards.

Key deadlines on extending a federal eviction moratorium and federal unemployment benefits have come and gone. Yet lawmakers and the White House, sources say, are as far apart as they’ve ever been in talks on the next emergency aid package.

As one person involved told CNN on Sunday night: “No clue how we get this done at this point. Just so much outstanding.”

Bottom line

Negotiators on both sides emerged from a three-hour-plus meeting on Saturday with by far the most positive words about where things stood. What that really underscored was just how much of a mess these talks have been. The meeting was productive because negotiators left with a better understanding of the full scope of disagreements (and areas of potential agreement), according to two sources. Not because they’d made headway toward an actual deal.

What to read

Very good recap of a day that underscored Saturday’s optimism was short-sighted.

What to watch

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will be back on Capitol Hill to meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

The framing

Pelosi and Mnuchin dig in on stimulus positions ahead of scheduled Monday talks

To understand why the two sides remain so far apart, it’s worth comparing how each is framing the scale of the crisis. Mnuchin, during the talks over the initial $2.2 trillion CARES Act, dismissed concerns about deficits due to historically low borrowing costs and the urgency of the moment. That has shifted – on Sunday he made a point of noting concerns about adding to much to the national debt in the next round.

This, on the other hand, was how Pelosi framed things in a letter to her House Democratic colleagues on Saturday night:

All parties must understand the gravity of the situation in order to reach an agreement that protects Americans’ lives, livelihoods and the life of our democracy.

There are a large number of policy differences here, but the biggest issue throughout the first week-plus of real negotiations has been the lens through which the two sides view the scale of the current crisis. And until that starts to merge, at least somewhat, there is no deal to be had.

The timing

The policy deadlines, at least up to this point, didn’t spark a deal. The Senate is scheduled to leave for August recess at the end of this week, but there’s zero sense something will come together before then. Neither side wants to leave town for the month without reaching an agreement, but at this point, that agreement – and then the process of actually getting it through both chambers – is a long way off.

"I’m not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term," Meadows said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Addressing the “unilateral” idea

There has been chatter for several weeks that the White House may look to pursue unilateral options to address the economy if it feels a deal with Democrats is out of reach. On Capitol Hill, those who were aware of the talk mostly just laughed it off. But it spilled into public view Monday with The Washington Post reporting it was becoming a very real option given how far apart the two sides remain.

Let’s go ahead and address this head on: there is nothing the White House can do on unemployment benefits unilaterally. There is nothing they can do in terms of sending out another round of stimulus checks. There is nothing they can do on liability protections. There are limits to what they can do regarding an eviction moratorium. There is nothing they can do in terms of allowing hard-hit small businesses to access a second Paycheck Protection Program loan.

The biggest holdups
(Again, these are the biggest picture items. There are dozens of smaller-bore issues that will also create disagreement or problems that the negotiators haven’t really gotten to yet, sources say.)

Federal unemployment benefits 

State and local funding 

Liability protections

Postal Service funds 

The areas of agreement

Paycheck Protection Program 

Direct Payments

(David Bythewood) #23

The Trump administration is reportedly considering unilateral action on enhanced unemployment benefits and an eviction moratorium if no deal is struck with Congress

  • The Trump administration is considering taking unilateral action on measures like enhanced unemployment insurance and a moratorium on evictions if it can’t agree with Congress on an economic relief bill, The Washington Post reported on Monday.
  • But the White House would still rather get a bill through Congress, The Post reported, and President Donald Trump has said his priorities are boosted unemployment checks and an eviction moratorium.
  • Negotiations between the White House and Democrats are at an impasse over unemployment insurance.

The Trump administration is weighing whether to take unilateral action if it doesn’t come to an agreement with Congress on another economic relief bill, The Washington Post reported on Monday, citing two sources who were granted anonymity to discuss the deliberations.

No final decisions were made, and the administration would still rather get legislation through Congress, the sources told The Post.

President Donald Trump said last week that his biggest priorities in negotiations over another stimulus bill were an extension of enhanced unemployment insurance and another moratorium on evictions.

Both measures were implemented under the economic relief package enacted in March. But they expired in late July, and Congress has not moved to extend them.

It’s not clear how the White House could circumvent Congress on the matter, but the administration has pushed the boundaries of executive power over the past three years.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Discussions on a spending package between White House officials and top congressional Democrats are at an impasse on unemployment insurance, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

Republicans unveiled their $1 trillion spending package four days before the $600 federal unemployment benefit ended on Friday. They proposed cutting the benefit to $200 a week for two months and designing a 70% wage-replacement program to start in October.

But Democrats want to extend the $600 supplementary payments — that was part of their $3 trillion spending package that the House passed in mid-May.

Nearly 30 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, per the Labor Department.

GOP lawmakers proposed a skinny bill that would deal only with unemployment benefits and the moratorium on evictions. Democrats rejected it and are pushing to pass their more expansive legislation to address a range of healthcare and economic priorities like emergency fiscal aid to states.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, met on Saturday to continue the talks. But a deal remains elusive, Pelosi told ABC News on Sunday.

“The fact is we will be close to an agreement when we have an agreement,” Pelosi said.


Congress holds the purse strings, I don’t know where he thinks he can get this kind of money. This announcement must be for PR purposes. :woman_shrugging:t2:

Ok this was in the WaPo article linked in the BI piece

Stephen Moore and Phil Kerpen, two outside economic advisers to the White House, published a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on Sunday urging Trump to declare a “national economic emergency” and announce that the Internal Revenue Service would temporarily defer the collection of payroll taxes. The effect would be to cut payroll taxes for workers, something Trump has long sought, although the legality of such a maneuver could come under immediate attack.

Here’s that WSJ op-ed

This is way more of a convoluted plan than just what either side of the Senate have proposed. Not sure how this would help people who are unemployed or underemployed right now, as they already don’t have money to pay taxes. :woman_shrugging:t2: