After blowing up talks in a bizarre fit earlier this week, President Donald Trump has pulled a full 180 and is now desperate to reach a deal with Democrats on coronavirus relief. Or so says Politico’s Jake Sherman:
🚨NEW … WHITE HOUSE is now completely set on striking a Covid stimulus deal with @SpeakerPelosi. They expect working all wk next week on getting a deal
No guarantees it goes anywhere in senate. Trump wants. Badly.
More in playbook pm. We’ll have everything you need to know.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 9, 2020
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is upping his offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Last week, before Trump walked out on the deal, it was $1.6 trillion. Now it’s $1.8 trillion. I assume the extra cash will be accompanied by a note apologizing for the president’s exhausting psychodrama.
NEWS: Mnuchin is preparing to present Pelosi with a $1.8 TRILLION counteroffer when the two speak today, sources tell @kristinapet and me.
Kudlow said this morning POTUS has approved an offer.
— Kate Davidson (@KateDavidson) October 9, 2020
Unfortunately for the president—and, um, America—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not seem to feel the same sense of urgency.
“The situation is kind of murky and I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage,” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky Friday. “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.”
For those counting at home, there are 25 days left until the election, meaning just over three weeks. McConnell isn’t quite shutting the door on any possibility of a deal—because that would be rude—but he is coming awfully close, presumably because he’d rather spend his time confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and is not that invested in Donald Trump’s reelection strategy at this stage.
So where does that leave our hopes for a rescue package? Obviously, things look a bit dim. But as I wrote yesterday, the reasonable move for Pelosi at this point would be to accept a deal. We are running out of time for a bargain, and the economy desperately needs more support heading into winter. If McConnell wants to kill the package in the Senate because his life’s sole purpose is confirming conservative judges, then Democrats can spend the next three weeks flogging the GOP for that decision.