“I feel optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but how long that tunnel is remains to be seen.”— Nancy Pelosi
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email thingie gives us the current state of play:
PELOSI WAS TALKING ABOUT Covid relief talks between herself, CHUCK SCHUMER, MARK MEADOWS and STEVEN MNUCHIN. But she might as well have been talking about 2020 more broadly.
BY THE WAY, TALKS are still stalled, and zero progress was made Wednesday. It seems unlikely that a deal in principle or in theory will be reached by Friday. MEADOWS put it this way to reporters: “There are no top-line numbers that have been agreed to. We continue to be trillions of dollars apart.”
There’s some speculation that Meadows and Mnuchin are playing bad/good cop. Meadows being a Tea Partier to his core is reflexively saying NO! to everything. Do continue:
OK, COOL. Now that we got that out of the way …
HERE ARE A FEW DETAILS FROM THE NEGOTIATING MEETINGWednesday:
— AS HAS BEEN SAID PUBLICLY, the meeting between PELOSI, SCHUMER, MEADOWS and MNUCHIN and Postmaster General LOUIS DEJOY was quite heated. SCHUMER repeatedly peppered DEJOY with questions, like: Does he agree with the president that the USPS is not prepared to handle election mail? What’s the Postal Service’s plan for the election? Why, in the middle of the pandemic, did they decide to make operational changes to the USPS?
— THE IDEA OF PENSION REFORM in this bill seems to have gotten more complicated. Republicans insist talks will need to include key senators like CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-Iowa) and LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-Tenn.), which widens the circle beyond the negotiators.
— REPUBLICANS OFFERED to prepare a regulatory fix to pass-through entities affected by SALT caps to sweeten their $200 billion ($150 billion) offer. PELOSI said: “That’s more like salt in the wound.”
— SCHUMER asked if he could provide data to back up the Democrats’ $175 billion ask for K-12 education funding. MEADOWS suggested the price tag is a non-starter for the GOP.
See, Bad Cop.
UPDATE 1: Politico reports:
“With no deal on a coronavirus relief package in sight, most senators are expected to head home Thursday, leaving negotiations up to the White House and party leaders.”
We maintain that the GOP is the problem here, this is not a failure on BOTH SIDES.