Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the Senate Democrats out on their refusal to come to a compromise over a second coronavirus relief package, as every single Democrat senator voted no on a procedural vote to bring the bill to the Senate floor. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer have been using the bill as a chance to play politics and use the legislative process to their own advantage for the upcoming election. But despite their refusal to come down from their $2.2 trillion dollar price tag, and their insistence that it is the Republicans who are blocking the process, the optics are not in their favor. And now, Pelosi is bowing to the pressure and trying one more time to pass a relief package.
In a call with her Democratic Caucus, she said that while she will not accept a skinny version of a bill, Congress will remain in session until some sort of deal can be reached.
The change of heart comes from members of her own party who are facing a touch election in November. As Americans are nervous about the economy, members in Democrat states need to prove Congress is working to help the everyday American get through the shutdown. The House already passed the HEROES Act, which is the largest spending bill in history, but the bill was dead on its arrival to the Senate.
Battleground districts are set to be most affected by Congress inability to compromise. Speaker Pelosi, who has been tough on negotiations, has acknowledged that to keep the majority, the House will have to do something. But while threatening Congress that they won’t be able to return to their districts until a deal passes sounds good, the reality is most members will return home and come back if a vote is called. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged that most members will return home to campaign , but he stressed the importance of passing legislation.
On a press call, Representative Hoyer said about Pelosi’s decision to keep the House in session, “But in another sense it tells members, ‘Look, we know the election’s coming up, we know you want to go back and campaign. But understand this is a priority, and we are going to address it as soon as we possibly can.’”
Why this matters: Democrats have been using their House majority to play tough in Congress. But as they gear up for the upcoming election, they took a risk in the political game to try and portray Republicans as unwilling to help the American people. But Mitch McConnell’s decision to bring an aid package to a filibuster vote worked, and the consequences are seen in the polls. Pelosi knows that she needs to keep her majority to keep her power, and in a surprising move, has had to come back once more to the negotiation table. Each time she does this, however, she loses her power more.
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