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Another Stimulus Package Will Get Done: Political Strategists

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While Republicans were quick to pooh-pooh House Democrats’ new $3 trillion fiscal stimulus bill, released on Tuesday, two political strategists believe a toned-down bill will indeed get done.

Ed Mills, policy analyst for Raymond James, noted in his Wednesday morning email briefing that “only a portion” of the House Democrats’ bill will likely be included in the next round of fiscal stimulus.

That being said, Democrats’ bill contains some measures “that could see bipartisan support, particularly bolstering the health care response, amending some restrictive aspects of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), increasing broadband internet access, and potentially another round of individual payments (if economic conditions continue to deteriorate),” Mills said.

Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Investments, added in his Wednesday email briefing that another terrible jobs report in June, “with unemployment surging to nearly 20%, would force the Republicans to act; even [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell has been grudgingly conceding that another bill may be necessary.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s massive bill, “weighing in at 1,815 pages (which also included aid to marijuana growers and curbs on President Donald Trump’s ability to fire whistleblowers),” will pass the House on Friday, Valliere continued.

The bill “has no chance of enactment,” but “it gives fodder to conservative deficit hawks who want to slow down — or do virtually nothing — while taking a close look at what the first $3 trillion has accomplished, and how the nationwide end to the lockdown will affect the economy,” Valliere opined.

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, ranking republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, echoed those sentiments Tuesday during a Zoom webcast.

There is consensus that another bill is needed, “just not Pelosi’s mammoth package,” Valliere said. “There’s widespread agreement in Washington that state and local governments need assistance soon; without it, the chances of bankruptcies and more layoffs will rise because local revenues have dried up, while more money goes to medical personnel and other emergency programs.”

Trump “wants another stimulus bill because more emergency spending should help the economy, which could help his reelection prospects,” Valliere opined. “Congress is just arguing over the details.”

Pelosi’s bill includes $1 trillion in payments to state and local governments, Valliere notes. “Our sense is that Republicans and Trump could agree to about half that amount — as long as no money goes to propping up poorly run pension funds. More money for hospitals and testing is virtually certain.”

The next stimulus may likely include “targeted state/local government support, additional health care funding, certain business liability protections, tweaks/more funding for the PPP, and possibly another round of individual direct payments,” Mills adds.

Trump’s push for a payroll tax cut “has meager support on Capitol Hill,” Valliere added, “even from Republicans, but some type of tax break for business meals and entertainment could prevail in the final measure.”

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