House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is making a political gamble that could cost some swing-state Democrats their seats in the upcoming election.
Some of these vulnerable lawmakers have practically begged Pelosi to strike a deal with Republicans to pass another coronavirus relief bill because they are worried it could hurt their re-election chances in November, Politico reported.
Pelosi is digging in along the party line of demanding trillions in stimulus spending — and some pundits predict it could cost Democrats their seats further down the ranks.
Republicans remain committed to pursuing a plan with a much lower price tag.
Without a drastic shift on one side or the other, a viable proposal is unlikely to result before Election Day.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the U.S. Senate blocked a GOP-backed plan to provide $500 billion in relief to struggling Americans.
Those anxieties — particularly among the Democrats in GOP-leaning districts known as frontliners — have spiked as lawmakers watched the standoff drag out in the Senate this week while they were stuck back home in their districts amid the pandemic. The Senate on Thursday failed to advance a “skinny” Republican coronavirus relief plan over Democratic opposition, leaving senators in both parties to declare negotiations likely on ice until after the election.
Now House members are preparing to return to Washington next week with little prospects for a bipartisan deal, even as coronavirus cases continue to rise and millions of Americans remain unemployed. The House is scheduled to be in session for just three weeks before leaving town until November. But on Thursday, Pelosi dismissed suggestions to change strategies.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the stakes in his statement ahead of a vote.
“We’re going to vote on policy,” he said, according to Politico. “Today every senator will either say they want to send families the relief we can agree to or they can send families nothing. Nothing.”
Democratic leaders like Pelosi who are pursuing an all-or-nothing approach to coronavirus relief are not only potentially impacting the relief so many of their constituents are relying on, but they might be endangering their own party.
As Republicans float the idea of staying in D.C. until a deal is reached, the onus is increasingly on Democrats to ensure some form of legislation gets passed.
Pelosi and others in the party, however, apparently believe their approach is warranted and advantageous in the pursuit of a robust spending bill.
In a joint statement, the speaker and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described the McConnell-backed proposals as “only intended to help vulnerable Republican senators by giving them a ‘check the box’ vote to maintain the appearance that they’re not held hostage by their extreme right-wing that doesn’t want to spend a nickel to help people.”
In addition to the presidency, though, the Democrats’ majority in the House is also on the line in November.
And many voters are sure to place the blame squarely on Pelosi’s party if there is still no sign of relief.