Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that President Trump’s positive test for coronavirus “changes the dynamic of stimulus talks.” But developments since suggest that the sides are still far apart on negotiating a new pandemic aid package, according to today’s DealBook newsletter.
Those pushing hard for a bill include the White House. Mr. Trump tweeted from the hospital on Saturday that the country “wants and needs” more stimulus. For Mr. Trump, a deal would serve as a sign of his authority, taking attention away from his health and unfavorable polls.
Congressional leaders, though, are still haggling. When asked Sunday whether Mr. Trump’s comments meant the two parties were closer to a deal, Ms. Pelosi demurred: “No, it means that we want to see that they will agree on what we need to do to crush the virus so that we can open the economy and open our schools safely.” She said that the parties were “making progress” toward a deal, but with Mr. Biden ahead in the polls, Democrats may feel they have the upper hand in negotiations.
On the Senate side, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is balancing competing interests among his Republican colleagues — some want a deal to bring home to constituents and others are worried about approving another large spending deal. Adding to the difficulties, the Senate has delayed its next sitting until Oct. 19, to account for positive coronavirus tests among Republican members.
Hanging in the balance are jobs and the economy. The longer people are out of the work, the harder it is for them to come back, suggesting that we may be entering the slow, grinding phase of a recovery that could tip into recession. There are still about twice as many people out of work now than before the pandemic, and without aid akin to what was in the first stimulus bill, weaker consumer spending, missed rent payments and other factors could ripple through the economy and the financial system.