Covid-19 Resurgence and the Election Changed Calculus for Aid Negotiators

WASHINGTON—When Rep. Ro Khanna called for Democrats to embrace a $1.8 trillion deal with the White House back in mid-October, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t happy.

“Ro Khanna, that’s nice. That isn’t what we’re going to do,” Mrs. Pelosi said on CNN, when asked about a tweet from her fellow California Democrat urging leaders to finalize an agreement with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The tense interview drew widespread attention—including from Mr. Khanna’s own mother, who had some questions for her son.

“My mom is a great admirer of Speaker Pelosi” and an avid cable-news watcher, Mr. Khanna said in an interview Friday. “So she texted me saying, ‘What are you doing? You have to be in line with the Speaker!’ ”

At the time, Mrs. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders backed a $2.4 trillion bill passed by the House, and negotiations continued. A deal never came together, derailed by the politics of the approaching election and policy debates over testing for the virus, funding for state and local governments and other issues. Senate Republicans also made clear they would support spending only around $500 billion, putting them out of step with the Trump administration.

Now, lawmakers from both parties are throwing their support behind a package valued at roughly $900 billion, nearly double what Senate Republicans were backing before the election, and only half of what Mr. Khanna and some other Democrats said the party should have accepted. As with most congressional compromises, the final result is likely to leave few fully satisfied.

Source: WSJ

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