Senate and WH reach COVID-19 stimulus deal, but ONE House member could still ruin plan

Screengrab Bloomberg

With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her showmanship out of the mix, the White House and Senate have reached an agreement on a massive $2 trillion coronavirus relief package — which is not to say that the California Democrat may still throw a wrench into the works.

Not that Pelosi is the only one who can ruin the plan — the speaker will reportedly try to pass the measure on unanimous consent if she’s in agreement, and a single member can prevent this.

Which is where Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., could come into play. The libertarian-minded lawmaker left the Republican Party recently and opportunities to be relevant are few and far between.

“This bipartisan deal is a raw deal for the people,” Amash tweeted. “It does far too little for those who need the most help, while providing hundreds of billions in corporate welfare, massively growing government, inhibiting economic adaptation, and widening the gap between the rich and the poor.”

Working past midnight into early Wednesday — Pelosi was likely tucked snugly into bed while the adults worked on a deal —  the financial rescue package is expected to deliver desperately needed relief to American workers and businesses feeling the full effect of the economic damage of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“At last, we have a deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the floor a little after 1:30 a.m,  “We’re going to pass this legislation later today.”

The upper chamber is expected to convene at noon and take up the measure shortly thereafter — the House is in pro forma session, with many members not in DC.

McConnell called the historic deal “a wartime level of investment into our nation.”

“The men and women of the greatest country on Earth are going to defeat this coronavirus and reclaim our future,” he said. “The Senate’s going to make sure they have the ammunition they need to do it.”

Earlier on, McConnell called on Democrats “to take yes for an answer.”

“I’m not sure how many ways to say it, but the clock has run out,” he said from the floor. “The buzzer is sounding. The hour for bargaining as though this were business as usual, has expired. The American people need our Democratic friends to take yes for an answer.”

Some of the language is still being drafted, but the goal is reportedly to circulate a bill on Wednesday that will provide cash payments to families, loans to businesses big and small, an expanded social safety net for the jobless and a major cash infusion for the nation’s hospitals, Roll Call reported.

“Much of the work on bill text has been completed,” White House legislative liaison Eric Ueland said. “And I’m hopeful that over the next few hours we’ll finish what’s left and be able to circulate it early in the morning.”

The price tag of the legislation is expected to hit a whopping $2 trillion or more.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who gummed up the works of an earlier effort, delaying relief to the American people, was quick to take credit for the deal.

“To all Americans I say, help is on the way,” Schumer said.

Citing the Democrat, Roll Call reported that the deal includes “over $130 billion for hospitals, doctors, nurses and community health centers; $150 billion for state and local governments; dramatically expanded unemployment compensation; and strict oversight of hundreds of billions of dollars for business loans.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was in contact with President Trump throughout the day and that the president is “very pleased with this legislation and the impact it’s going to have.”

It appears that the American people are also pleased — with the president’s handling of the crisis.

Even though Democrats and their media enablers have seized on every opportunity to attack Trump over the pandemic, a Gallup survey showed his job approval rating recorded “the best net approval of his entire presidency.”

As the parties close in on a deal, the president extended an olive branch of sorts as he spoke at a press briefing on the coronavirus.

“I also want to thank Congress, because whether or not we’re happy that they haven’t quite gotten there yet, they have been working long hours,” Trump said. “I am talking Republicans and Democrats, all of them — the House, the Senate. I want to thank Congress because they are really trying to get there, and I think they will.”

Mnuchin was less sure about where Pelosi stands — the speaker blew up an effort to reach an agreement Sunday evening.

“I can’t speak for the speaker; I hope she takes it up and she passes it as is,” Mnuchin said. “We need, we need this to get working for the American people.”

Like a dark cloud hanging over proceedings, Pelosi warned during an interview with CNBC about “poison pills” being in the final draft — the irony being off the charts after the speaker rolled out her own relief bill Monday chock- full of enough partisan pork to choke a donkey.

“The easiest way to do it is for us to put aside some of our concerns for another day, and get this done,” Pelosi said. “If it has poison pills in it — and they know certain things are poison pills — then they don’t want unanimous consent, they just want an ideological statement.”


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