The New York Times went long on the current Republican-generated congressional stalemate regarding the next relief bill aimed at mitigating the combined effects of the pandemic and the spiraling national economy. The general tone of the piece is that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is taking no mess in her negotiations with the other side, which is true enough, I guess, but hardly a surprise. A House relief bill has been idling in the Senate for months because Mitch McConnell’s majority in that chamber is so riven with disagreement as to be effectively useless.
(Also, why it’s important to note that Pelosi was educated by nuns when discussing her hardball rhetoric is beyond me. I was educated by nuns.)
“We’re not doing short-term action, because if we do short-term action, they’re not going to do anything else,” she said of Republicans Friday afternoon during an interview in her office, after negotiators blew past their own deadline without a deal. “That’s it — like a sucker punch, you know — ‘Let us just do this little bit,’ and then you know what? We’ll never see them again.” Instead, Ms. Pelosi is pushing for a sweeping package that includes billions of dollars for state and local governments and schools, food and rental assistance, and additional aid for election security and the Postal Service.
All the while, Ms. Pelosi has made it clear that she does not much trust President Trump’s advisers — she has taken to asking negotiators to turn over their electronic devices before entering sessions in her office — nor does she think highly of their ability to forge a compromise. “You’ve never done a deal,” she has reminded Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff and former congressman, according to a person familiar with the talks who described them on the condition of anonymity.
This is true enough. In his previous life, Meadows led the Freedom Caucus in the House, the claque of extremist conservatives in safe seats who made Speaker Paul Ryan’s life a living hell. However, Meadows’s unsuitability for his current role pales next to that of his negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
At one point during one of the negotiations, Mr. Mnuchin had inquired what WIC, a nutritional program specifically for women, infants and children, was, according to a person familiar with the talks.
The Secretary of the Treasury didn’t even know what one of the most important supplemental nutritional programs servicing some nine million of his fellow citizens was. And people say this is an administration without empathy?
“On any given day, you might say, why am I even talking to these people? They don’t care,” Ms. Pelosi said.
Every day with these guys is a given day.
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