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Clock Ran Out

Q: What were Republicans doing? 

A: Discussing alligator sausage and Louisiana, not a Covid package.

This story sounds like it is straight from The Onion, but it isn't.

Race Against the Clock 

Please consider the Bloomberg article McConnell’s Stimulus Waiting Game Turns Into Race Against Clock

It’s a time crunch of their own making. Republicans and Trump squabbled all week over the details of the plan, forcing McConnell to delay the release of the GOP proposal until Monday. That gives Congress almost no time to avoid a lapse in the unemployment aid.

The expiration is now less of an inducement to get Democrats to the negotiating table than a potential albatross they will try to drape around the necks of endangered Senate Republicans.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin touted a “fundamental agreement” among Republicans on a package of spending and tax cuts, and some Republican senators said they were expecting to see bills released as soon as Thursday. When it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, they waited for details at lunch.

Instead, they got alligator sausages courtesy of Louisiana Senator John Kennedy and little more.

We talked about Louisiana and alligators,” South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds said. “Honestly. We say, ‘Mitch what do you got?’ And he said, ‘We’re working on it. Not much to report yet, but we’re working on it.’”

Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who opposes the stimulus plan, said after the lunch that “We just found out that we weren’t going to find anything out.” Senators left Washington for the weekend with no bill text and plenty of details still to iron out.

The Clock Won

The Bloomberg article is wrong about one key thing. The clock is not about to run out. Rather, it just did. 

On July 23, I commented Over 30 Million People About to Lose $600 in Unemployment Benefits

"About to lose" is now "Just lost".

Calendar Quirk

The last full week in July ends Saturday July 25 for most state UI programs. And that is when the benefits expire, not July 31.

Rubio proposes taking up the lapse in insurance "by the first week in August."

That would be too late.

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Blame Game

The Senate can and likely will backdate a new unemployment package, but states will have to make a lot of programming changes to make that happen. 

This will cause delays which Democrats will blame on Republicans.

And if the Republicans put in a means test as expected, that will cause even more delays.

Democrats already have plenty to blame on Senate Republicans. This package expiring is guaranteed to hurt Trump and marginal Senate Republicans.

Democrats Favored to Win the Senate

Earlier today I commented, Democrats Favored to Win the Senate.

This story will not help the Republican cause. Please click on the above link for details.

Trump Will Lose to Biden

For analysis of why Trump will lose to Biden, please see Only 13 Percent of Voters are Still Undecided

Republican bickering over alligators can easily turn things into a Democrat tidal wave.