Just how far apart are Republicans and Democrats on a stimulus bill?
The question itself almost feels like a misnomer.
Republican sources who spoke to Politico yesterday said they don't expect serious talks to resume until later this month if they ever do, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear why that is.
It's really hard to make a deal with someone who does not share your values, she says.
"We told them we'll go down a trillion if you go up a trillion for the children. Again, let's meet in the middle. We've said all of that," Pelosi told MSNBC.
"It's no use sitting in a room and let them tell us that states should go bankrupt. The fiscal soundness of our states is essential to the strength of our economy," she added.
"And it doesn't help when people say, 'How come you can't resolve your differences?' It's a chasm. Because they do not share our values, they don't believe in science, they don't believe in governance."
This isn't something I haven't already said numerous times and in various ways, but at this point I think we can actually go a bit further.
They don't just not share our values; they don't have any values.
Sure, Republicans value wealth, power, and white supremacy, but at some point their refusal to govern at all erodes even those things. The Republican party has become a cult of nihilism that does not believe in having values or at least not in displaying or exercising any of those values. They don't believe in governance, as Pelosi says. Governing requires having clear values to guide policy. Even if you have bad values and bad policies, it's still a governing philosophy, but Republicans have no philosophy remaining. They're led by a cultural atheist in the White House who does not value anything but himself. Nothing is sacred and there is no shared valued with a party led by Donald Trump. There can't be.
I wouldn't be surprised if there's no stimulus deal this month, but I also wouldn't be surprised if there's never another deal.
If there isn't one in September, there probably won't be. Congress will only be in session about 21 days between the election and the end of the year. The government also has to be funded to prevent a shutdown on October 1st when fiscal 2021 begins. It's only August 12th today, but the Senate is on recess through the end of the month and they will only have 3 weeks to fund the government when they return to Washington.
Legislatively speaking, there's not much of the year left and Republicans wasted most of it.