House Democrats passed a comprehensive relief bill in mid-May. Mitch McConnell responded to this with a two-month vacation, and still doesn’t have a response the legislature he controls can pass. Because of the failure of Republicans to seriously negotiate, talks on a relief bill are foundering:
Last-ditch negotiations over a new coronavirus relief package failed to yield a deal Friday, ending talks for now and leaving bitter feelings among White House officials and Democratic leaders.
After a 90-minute meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said they would tell President Donald Trump to take executive action to alleviate the economic fallout from the pandemic amid the impasse.
“[Meadows] and I will recommend to the president, based upon our lack of activity today, to move forward with some executive orders,” Mnuchin told reporters.
Mnuchin added that the president’s orders would address expired unemployment insurance benefits and eviction protections. It would also extend the current suspension of student loan payments and defer federal payroll tax payments. Members of both parties have opposed the payroll tax cut.
Friday’s meeting in Pelosi’s office capped off two weeks of closed-door negotiations between White House officials and Democratic leaders without a breakthrough. Meanwhile, millions of Americans remain unemployed and coronavirus cases and deaths continue to spike in many areas of the country.
Note that despite the urgency of the situation with UI benefits having expired and many other provisions about to, McConnell isn’t even significantly involved in these negotiations.
Which, of course, doesn’t mean that we won’t see many examples of how not to report this:
Bothsides coverage perpetuates government disfunction.
House Democrats *passed a bill* in May. Republicans refused to do anything til last week and have yet to propose anything that can get 50 votes in the Senate, which they control. https://t.co/S9mkUpxwbB— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) August 7, 2020
Republicans rely on that hazy blame-everyone coverage mentality to run against the failures that their lassitude and obstruction create. It’s hard for voters to discern who caused the wreck or how to avoid another. So these stories in a small way perpetuate the disfunction.— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) August 7, 2020
Given how differently the houses have acted, assuming “Congress” is to blame is making a value judgment, not reporting facts, and the judgment is wrong. Reporters should actually report the facts, and if readers infer from these facts that Republicans are incompetent and/or monstrous that’s not your problem.