Why Are Republicans Being Cheapskates?

Kevin Drum

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Republicans and Democrats are at loggerheads over an interim coronavirus rescue bill. Let’s call it Rescue 3.5:

For now, Republicans leaders want to keep this measure narrow, focused exclusively on giving a $250 billion boost to the Paycheck Protection Program….“That by definition is a clean bill,” McConnell said in a floor speech. “I want to add money to the only part of our bipartisan bill that is currently at risk of running out of money.”

Democrats, however, disagree. They noted that the Paycheck Protection Program is not the only effort that needs more money…..Plus, while the CARES Act had already allocated money to health care providers and states and cities, Democrats note that it’s far from enough to make up for the lost revenue that these institutions are experiencing because of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to the $100 billion that the CARES Act has for hospitals, and the $150 billion it has for states, Democrats are interested in adding more to cover costs like medical supplies and tax losses.

I find this a little puzzling. Donald Trump should be single-mindedly focused on opening the money firehose as widely as possible and as soon as possible. He wants to be reelected, and that means getting the economy back on track by October. That’s unlikely to happen if, say, state and local governments are cutting back just as everyone else starts spending again.

So his instructions to Mitch McConnell should be something like Give ’em anything they want! Hell, goad them into demanding more if you can!

And Democrats, hogtied as always by their ridiculous desire to actually help people, will go right along. So why are Republicans playing so coy?

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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