- Millions of Americans are waiting to hear if they’ll get a new stimulus check anytime soon, and leaders in Washington continue to disappoint them — even though talks about a new coronavirus stimulus bill are still ongoing.
- The latest drama comes in the form of an apparent reversal by President Trump, who’s now reportedly told aides he wants to do a big stimulus deal after all.
- That’s in contrast to his tweet earlier this week, in which he declared that he’d told aides to quit negotiating with Democrats on a stimulus accord.
Over the course of the last few months, official Washington has taken what should have been the layup of the year — passage of a desperately needed new stimulus accord — and turned it into the equivalent of gladiatorial combat, with neither side gaining an advantage. Which, unfortunately, only serves to create losers all around.
The latest head-spinning turn of events in the ongoing saga of whether or not legislators will even tee up a stimulus package, let alone pass one outright, comes in the form of a complete reversal by President Trump from his stance just a few days ago. It was earlier this week, remember, when the president stunned everyone by tweeting that he’s told aides to abruptly walk away from the stimulus talks — that he’s shutting it down completely, to be picked back up again after he’s won re-election. Never mind that he’s behind in most major polls, his prospect for re-election is by no means assured, and millions of Americans whose lives and livelihoods have been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic have been waiting for news of when they might get another $1,200 stimulus check.
For the latest along these lines, CNN has reported that Trump has been telling aides to essentially scrap that original order — he now wants a big, expansive stimulus deal, after all.
As is often the case with President Trump, the devil doesn’t appear to be in the details — because there are no details. It’s unclear what the president’s priorities are and if he mostly just wants to get a deal done and is fluid on how lawmakers go about getting there. Reportedly, it was the fact that markets tanked upon word of his initial walk-away from stimulus talks — along with incredulity from leaders in his own party — that made Trump re-think his position.
At any rate, that’s where we are, according to Drew Hammill, the deputy chief of staff to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Pelosi in a call on Thursday, according to Hammill, that Trump wanted to pick this back up again and get moving on a comprehensive stimulus package, which would presumably include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks (Trump even tweeted as much about that last point).
As if all this wasn’t maddening enough, though, Pelosi said during that phone call that she’d been told to disregard Mnuchin’s assertion by a different White House official. And round and round it goes.