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Outflanked again!


Committed social democrat Tom Cotton once again owns the libs!

If only Cotton had an extensive track record that would compel us not to take his assertions that he wanted to help American workers more than House Dems at face value!

The fundamental problem with the discourse around these issues is making cherry-picked apples-to-kumquats compassions, all designed to give Republicans credit they don’t remotely deserve. (I would be more surprised by this game if a generation of pundits hadn’t spent years asserting that Republican preferences on health care were defined by a designed-to-fail bill written by a representative who supported a national handgun ban and a law passed by veto-proof supermajorities of Massachusetts Democrats. The need for denial is strong.) The bill passed by Pelosi wasn’t a messaging bill; it was a negotiated bill intended to pass. It can be meaningfully compared only to legislation passed by the Senate. If we’re comparing isolated policy proposals they need to be compared to other proposals made by Democrats, such as the much larger cash transfer proposed by House Dems 4 days before Trump got on board. Or one could look at how the Republican conference responded to actual social democratic proposals made by Democratic House members.

The other thing, and this is a lesson we have to keep learning, is that inside-baseball messaging wars are not at all important to election outcomes or, really, anything at all. In November, with the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in either six or seven figures and the economy haven shrunk more than in 2008, nobody is going to vote for Trump because Tom Cotton briefly pretended to support better legislation before ultimately voting for worse legislation. Pelosi passing a symbolic messaging bill for McConnell to bury will not accomplish anything, substantively or politically. Just pass the best legislation you can get to mitigate the human and economic toll as much as possible.

…Meanwhile, here’s what Senate Dems are proposing:

Some Democratic senators want to go much bigger than that. Sens. Michael Bennet (CO), Cory Booker (NJ), and Sherrod Brown (OH) drafted a letter to Senate party leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer calling for immediate $2,000 payments to all adults and children in the US below a certain income threshold ($90,000 for singles and $180,000 for couples is one number I’ve heard floated by sources familiar with these discussions). You can read their whole plan in the appendix to the letter here.

Under the plan, if the US is still in a public health emergency in July, Americans would get another $1,500 each. If the same is true in October, everyone would get another $1,000. If the public health emergency is over in either July or October when the Treasury secretary does his quarterly check-in, but unemployment has increased by a single point, the checks still go out. If unemployment rises by half a point, the checks are cut in half, but they still go out.

Americans could get as much as $4,500 per person, or $18,000 for a family of four, if all the payments outlined in the plan go out.

If Tom Cotton and Mitt Romney get to the left of that, I owe you a Coke! See also.

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