Nov 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Congress to go on vacation despite lack of stimulus bill

Illustration of a medical mask with a hundred dollar bill on it crumpled on the ground
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Congress goes on vacation next week, after months spent hardly working on an economic stimulus that almost everyone agrees was needed months ago.

  • This failure was disheartening in May. It was frustrating in August. It was maddening earlier this month.
  • Today it's whatever adjective best describes the compulsion to slam your head against a concrete wall.

The difference between now and then is that we can see a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, thanks to vaccine trial results from Pfizer and Moderna.

  • That means we know more about what's needed and for how long it's needed, neither of which were really true when the CARES Act was passed in March.
  • We also know now that America is in the midst of a third COVID-19 wave that is only expected to get worse, particularly after a Thanksgiving holiday that may double as a national super-spreader event.
  • Many businesses — including a lot of Northern state restaurants that have been eking by on outdoor dining — are unlikely to survive until a Biden inauguration (or even until the Georgia run-offs). More jobs will be lost.
  • In addition, upwards of 12 million Americans could lose their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas, as CARES Act provisions expire.

This list of horribles is manifest. Yet there are zero negotiations happening right now on stimulus, according to Axios political reporter Alayna Treene.

The bottom line: Elected officials of both parties, including President Trump, are failing the country. Not only by not succeeding in getting new stimulus passed, but by no longer even trying.

  • The time for apportioning partisan blame has passed. The elections are over, so it's no longer defensible for leaders to wait until their "side" has more leverage. Every business or job saved, every family enabled to avoid eviction, should now be the priority. Every vacation day is a cruelty, brought to us by what is becoming the lamest of ducks.
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