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THE BIG DEAL-Trump faces unusual barrier to COVID-19 aid: President Trump’s last-ditch effort to secure another enormous package of emergency coronavirus relief is being threatened by an unusual group: his GOP allies in Congress.
For almost four years, Republican leaders have rallied behind the president on issues as varied as health care, immigration, trade and defense, even when his positions bucked long-held conservative doctrines.
Yet just weeks before the Nov. 3 election, as the embattled president is exhorting Congress to move a major package of COVID-19 aid, those same lawmakers have emerged as the single greatest barrier standing in his way. The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong tell us why here.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly thrown cold water on the idea of spending trillions more dollars to fight the pandemic, citing the opposition of roughly 20 Republicans in the upper chamber.
- On a conference call Saturday, Senate Republicans voiced concerns to party leaders about the $1.8 trillion package proposed by the White House a day earlier.
- The backlash ensured that the only path to passage is on the shoulders of Democratic votes – a strategy McConnell has rejected.
The politics: The resistance comes at a crucial point in the presidential campaign, when Trump is recovering from his own bout with COVID-19, trailing badly in the polls and all but pleading with Republican leaders to “go big” with a late-cycle lifeline to promote on the trail.
“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package, frankly, than either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering,” Trump told conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh shortly before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin delivered the $1.8 trillion offer to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week.
Democratic opposition: Democrats have rejected the White House proposal, saying it simply doesn’t provide enough funding to address the dual crises of health and economy sparked by the pandemic. They’ve held firm to their own $2.2 trillion package, which passed through the House earlier in the month.
Read more: Trump economic adviser: Senate Republicans will ‘go along with’ White House stimulus proposal despite their pushback
LEADING THE DAY
Advocates plead for housing aid as eviction cliff looms: A potentially dire housing crisis could erupt if the Trump administration and Congress fail to reach a deal on further coronavirus relief that includes eviction protections and substantial rent assistance, experts warn.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a sweeping eviction ban last month in an unprecedented flex of its emergency authorities, but the moratorium stands on shaky legal ground – and only runs through the end of the year.
- Uneven interpretations of the CDC’s ban among judges across the U.S. have hobbled its effectiveness, forcing thousands of families out of their rental homes already. Millions more could face the same fate when the ban expires on Jan. 1.
- Evictions not only make it harder for struggling families to get back on their feet, experts say, but also increase COVID-19 transmission by forcing ousted tenants into shelters or doubling up with other families in tighter living environments.
“The CDC order is crucial right now, and it’s equally important that it be coupled with rental assistance to prevent the long-term harm and suffering that’s just ahead of us,” said Emily Benfer, a law professor at Wake Forest University.
“It’s unconscionable for the government to turn its back on the millions upon millions of people who are struggling, and unreasonable to ask them the people hardest hit to bear the brunt of the pandemic knowing that they cannot recover without this type of assistance.”
I explain here.
GOOD TO KNOW
- A New York Times analysis of tax records showed that more than 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments have funneled millions of dollars to President Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from the president and his administration.
- A global economic watchdog on Monday said talks on how to overhaul taxes on big tech companies will stretch into 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic and “political issues” prevented the group from wrapping up by its end of the year deadline.
- Stocks took gains Monday as the fate of coronavirus relief negotiations between the Trump administration and House Democrats remained up in the air with less than four weeks until Election Day.
- New York Times: “Despite an extraordinary government bailout, America’s agriculture sector remains under severe economic pressure.”
ODDS AND ENDS
- Democrats are accusing app-based gig companies including Uber and Lyft of playing dirty in their multimillion-dollar ad campaign supporting a California ballot measure that would allow their drivers to continue to be treated as independent contractors rather than employees.