Senate Republicans might want to hold the line on bailouts of the states, but they haven’t reckoned with Donald Trump’s dealmaking instincts. The first aid packages have now had a few weeks to roll out, but they aren’t making enough of a dent to keep jobs from melting away. The White House will clearly need to get more of their own priorities through Congress, which means Nancy Pelosi has enough leverage to dictate some terms.
In other words, it’s time to play Let’s Make a Deal, and the Washington Post reports that Trump wants to play Monty Hall. To get a little, he knows he’ll have to give a little, but the trick is to give as little as necessary:
White House officials have privately signaled that they are willing to provide tens of billions of dollars in relief to states as part of a bipartisan deal with Democrats in the coming weeks, despite President Trump’s reluctance and strong opposition from conservative groups, according to seven people familiar with the internal deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.
Although that position is likely to anger some Republicans who have warned that Democrats want “blue state bailouts,” many White House officials now believe that providing new funding to states to deal with challenges related to the novel coronavirus will be necessary if they want to secure their own priorities, such as tax breaks and liability protections for businesses, the people said.
“The White House is moving to set up where a deal could be,” a veteran Republican close to Trump said. “The first thing is getting Republicans in Congress to come around on some money for states and that’s happening. It’s progress, for sure, but it’s only the first part of bringing it all together in a deal.”