Following the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned his chamber until after Election Day, officially signaling that Congress won’t enact a new coronavirus relief bill before the election — and potentially not before 2021.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Trump administration both say they want a deal. Pelosi told the administration Monday that it’s still possible to strike an agreement before next Tuesday, even if it’s too late to write and pass legislation.
“We said, ‘We can get something done before the election, at least an agreement, if not a law, if you admit that we can, must crush the virus,’” Pelosi said Monday night on “All In with Chris Hayes.”
But the two sides still don’t even agree on a national plan to ramp up coronavirus testing and contact tracing, even after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the White House would accept Democrats’ testing proposal.
Still, White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah said Tuesday that the administration hoped for a deal “within weeks.”
The prospects of a deal on another stimulus package now hinge on the outcome of the November election. Although Democratic nominee Joe Biden is favored to win the White House, Republicans are fighting to retain control of the Senate. If the GOP manages to hold onto its majority, Republicans believe they’ll have a better negotiating position in the lame-duck session of Congress ― meaning they could push for their smaller relief package that would block coronavirus lawsuits and provide less aid to states.
Republicans have specifically avoided saying a relief package is dead. For one, if President Donald Trump were to be reelected, they might need to actually pass a bill. For another, it’s politically dumb to say so one week before an election, even if they have no intent to go along with even more spending. Republicans continue to say they could...