President Trump predicted Tuesday that he’ll sign off on a coronavirus relief package after the election — and not just any relief package. “After the election, we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen,” Trump told reporters.
Trump blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the lack of a deal thus far, again pointing to Democratic efforts to provide more aid money to states and cities facing a pandemic-related budget crunch. “Nancy Pelosi is only interested in bailing out badly run, crime-ridden Democrat cities and states. That’s all she’s interested in. She’s not interested in helping the people,” Trump said, adding that Republicans would win control the House as a result.
“We’ll take back the House. We’ll hold the Senate. We’ll hold the White House,” Trump maintained.
The reality: Trump’s pre-election bluster is at odds with current election forecasts, which point to the GOP losing seats in both the House and Senate and have him facing a difficult path to reelection. At the same time, prospects of a stimulus deal have clearly evaporated, for now. Both the House and Senate have left Washington, D.C. until after the election and negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “have largely been shelved after repeated failed attempts to broker a compromise,” The Washington Post reports:
“Their talks showed scant evidence of progress, but neither Pelosi nor Mnuchin seems to want to be the one to say it’s over. Pelosi continues to insist she wants a deal before the election that would include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, among other things. But at the same time, her rhetoric has shifted in recent days to emphasize the possibility of a bigger and better relief bill passing in future, with retroactive benefits — a scenario that would seem possible only under a Biden administration.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday morning suggested to Politico that negotiators may never have been all that close to agreement: “That was a very complicated negotiation,” he said. “Depending on who you talk to, I’m not sure they got very close.”
The bottom line: With Election Day a week away, talk of a coronavirus relief deal is now either in the past or future tense. Nothing is happening right now. “We’ll come back in November,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL). “The question might be, will there be something then?”