Sunday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced their agreement upon a $900 billion stimulus package. Included in the package will be direct payments to eligible Americans in the amount of $600 per household member. The stimulus will reinstate the $300 per week unemployment supplement from the federal government. Direct payments to eligible Americans will be 50% of what the March 2020 CARES act provided.
Negotiations surrounding the second major stimulus package have been stalled since the summer, when House Democrats refused to pass anything less than a 2.2 trillion-dollar stimulus bill. House and Senate Republicans refused to vote for the bill, arguing that it was full of unnecessary spending that had nothing to do with the pandemic. After negotiations stalled in late summer, top-ranking congress officials told the American people that any more talks of stimulus aide would have to take place after the election.
In deciding what was most important regarding a stimulus package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats had a choice. They could have chosen to either work in the best interests of the American people by passing a stimulus bill or to ensure the optics were in their favor. Democrats had a clear aim in delaying the negotiations, they wanted to make sure the Trump administration didn’t get any credit for passing a second stimulus package. They chose the optics. They wanted to have the stimulus come on the heels of the electoral college vote for political timing.
If you were to believe the New York Times press briefing, you would think the Biden Transition Team brokered the negotiations. Instead of reminding the American people that the stimulus package was in a deadlock largely because of the handy work of House Democrats, the New York Times called a member of Trump’s legal team a conspiracy theorist. If you want to know why the political discourse in America is so hostile, look no further than the headlines of the New York Times.