Pelosi Is Playing Hardball on Coronavirus Relief. She Thinks She’ll Win.
Will the People?
PELOSI IS PLAYING HARDBALL WITH CORONA RELIEF
As the clock ticked down Thursday on a self-imposed deadline for a breakthrough in coronavirus relief talks with no deal in sight,
Jim Cramer, the brash CNBC host, had an on-air proposal for Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.
Why not try invoking the memory of the late civil rights icon John Lewis to try to persuade Republicans,
To agree to help the most vulnerable Americans, including “minorities” struggling to weather a pandemic and a recession?
Ms. Pelosi flashed a forced smile.
“Perhaps,” she deadpanned, “you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn for what you just described.”
The comment — unusually coarse for Ms. Pelosi, 80, who was educated by nuns — was part insult,
Part dare and part slogan for a woman who believes she has the upper hand in crisis negotiations and does not intend to lose it.
And it reflected how, two weeks into stalled talks over another round of federal assistance to prop up a battered economy,
And less than three months before Election Day, the speaker of the House is going for the jugular.
She has publicly heaped disdain on her White House negotiating partners,
PLAYING HARDBALL IN MEETINGS
As she plays hardball in daily private meetings in her Capitol office suite,
Convinced that she has political leverage to force Republicans to agree to far more generous aid than they have offered.
She has been unwilling to bow to the Trump administration’s demands for a much narrower bill or a stopgap solution.
“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.
STRATEGY CARRIES SOME RISK
Ms. Pelosi’s strategy carries substantial political risk and real collateral damage, at least in the short term.
In holding out for a sweeping relief package,
Democrats have swatted away Republican pleas to pass weeklong extensions of the expired $600-per-week in extra federal jobless pay ,
That millions of Americans have relied upon, drawing Republican charges of obstruction.
The impasse has prompted Mr. Trump to threaten unilateral action in the coming days to provide relief on his own,
Though it remains unclear if he has the legal authority to do so.
And it has sown uneasiness even among some rank-and-file Democrats,
Particularly those who represent politically competitive districts,
And are eager to show voters their party is capable of bipartisan compromise on pressing issues.
Dawg says: politics as usual as people go without but the politicos don’t.