Congressional Republicans must be feeling the heat on the campaign trail in the final days of the election. Otherwise, they wouldn't be doing this.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says they're going to hold another vote for a stimulus bill and this one will be larger than their last, but not much larger.
The new proposal will total about $500 billion, up from $300 billion but down from the $1 trillion they first considered during the summer. But this slightly larger bill is primarily centered on reshuffling funds from the Paycheck Protection Program that went unspent.
President Donald Trump, a Republican who called off coronavirus relief talks last week only to restart them days later, pushed lawmakers again on Tuesday to “Go big or go home!!!”
Yet McConnell said the full Senate’s first order of business when it returns on Monday would be to vote on a $500 billion relief bill tapping unused Paycheck Protection Program funds.
He said the bill would include help for schools and liability protections for businesses, which Republicans sought. McConnell also said there would be more unemployment benefits in the bill, but did not give specifics.
This may just be a vehicle for pleasing their donors by holding another vote on legal immunity for businesses.
In any case, Trump telling congressional Republicans to "go big or go home" and their response being this nothingburger tells you just how silly is it for Wall Street speculators to price another big stimulus package into their forecasts because it's not going to happen. Republicans may as well "go home" and stay there.
As you probably recall, Senate Republicans barely scraped together a simple majority of their own caucus to vote for their smaller $300 billion proposal last month and the only reason they did that is because vulnerable incumbents pleaded with McConnell to let them vote on something. They may be able to do so again for a $500 billion proposal, but this is just for show.
Politically speaking, I think it's far too late for their messaging to make any difference. The time to make a difference was in late July or early August when the financial future of millions was still up in the air, not several months later.
House Democrats have voted on and passed two large stimulus bills since May. Republicans spent the summer confirming conservatives judges.
Vote for Democrats in the 2020 election if you'd like to have a functioning government again.