There will be no COVID-19 relief bill as long as Mitch McConnell is Senate majority leader, and I really don't understand why people won't just admit that instead of screaming at Nancy Pelosi like this is all her fault somehow.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that he would not put a potential $1.8 trillion+ deal struck by Democrats and the Trump administration on the Senate floor. "My members think half a trillion dollars, highly targeted is the best way to go," he said.
Why it matters: The economy and American workers need help. Democrats say so. President Trump says so. Fed chair Jay Powell says so, adding that there's a low risk of "overdoing it." At some point, such inaction will catch up to investors. This comes against a backdrop of a still-raging pandemic. Yesterday, for example, showed increased COVID-19 caseloads in all 50 states, while over 100 million Americans remain out of the labor force.
State of play: House Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin talked yesterday and will talk again today. One possible breakthrough is on the Democrats' ask for a national testing plan, which Mnuchin this morning said on CNBC that the White House will now support. No word yet on if the WH will relent on another sticking point, related to expansions of the child tax credit and earned income tax credit. Or if Pelosi will give the WH a win on virus-related liability protections for businesses and schools.
What to know: President Trump said on Fox Business this morning that he would "absolutely" go higher than a $1.8 trillion proposal, and that he has directed Mnuchin to do so. But there isn't actually a WH proposal to negotiate against, at least not in document form.
The biggest hurdle is Senate Republicans, who have been left out of negotiations and who seem uninterested in comprehensive stimulus. One explanation is that McConnell is laser-focused on SCOTUS, but it's unclear why he won't walk and chew stimulus at the same time — particularly given how much Trump wants a deal before the election.