What is the current status of a negotiations concerning a third coronavirus stimulus bill?
There's no sign that a deal is imminent but, for what it's worth, the two sides have moved closer together even if Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows would like you to think otherwise.
Meadows says the White House won't negotiate, but that's evidently not true. Their latest proposal is nearly $1 trillion higher than the latest proposal from Senate Republicans.
“Listen, we’re not going to negotiate here because the speaker’s been very clear,” Meadows told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” characterizing Pelosi as inflexible. ‘When she said $2.2 trillion, she said, ‘Don't do anything at all.’ "
President Donald Trump indicated Friday that he’s willing to sign a $1.3 trillion relief bill, a $300 billion increase from the White House and Senate Republicans’ original $1 trillion offer.
A $1.3 trillion bill is only $300 billion higher than their original proposal, but it's $800 billion higher than the proposal embraced by Senate Republicans earlier this month.
It's not entirely clear what the $1.3 trillion would include, but the Senate GOP's $500 billion proposal did not include unemployment benefits or stimulus checks. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell removed those measures from his bill to attract more Republican support that probably won't matter in the end.
With Congress returning to Washington next week and with the White House moving slightly closer to Democrats on stimulus -- and with a government shutdown looming in 30 days -- I think we may be closer to seeing a stimulus bill materialize.
It's very cynical, but I think a roughly $1.5 to $2 trillion stimulus package will be attached to a must-pass government funding bill at the end of the month. That will make it more difficult if not impossible for Senate Republicans to scuttle it. And I'm sure they'd like to. At least half of the Senate GOP caucus does not believe there should be any more stimulus. Some of them don't even believe in funding the government.
The only other possibility is there will be no more stimulus before the election.